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* 



CHESTER 

A HISTORICAL AND TOPOGRAPHICAL 
ACCOUNT OF THE CITY 



' WHBRB DEVA SPREADS HER WIZARD STREAM ' 



i 




CHESTER CATHEDRAL./^'"'/* hE 



CHESTER 

A HISTORICAL AND 

TOPOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT 

OF THE CITY 



WRITTEN BY 

BERTRAM C. A. ^INDLE 

ILLUSTRATED BY 

EDMUND H. NEW 




Viaikni^^ viufc Tcv.af 



LONDON: METHUEN AND CO. 

NEW YORK: JAMES POTT AND COMPANY 

1904 



(jroia 



DA 
6>90 

•C5 
I90H 






TO 

ELLEN F. AND HUME C. PINSENT 

IN MEMORY OF KINDNESSES 

WHICH 

CAN NEVER BE FORGOTTEN 

BY 

THEIR SINCERE FRIEND 

THE AUTHOR 



i^ 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 

I. THE EARLY HISTORY OF CHESTER 

II. THE SAXON AND NORMAN PERIODS 

III. CHESTER UNDER LATER SOVEREIGNS 

IV. THE WAIjLS — THE BRIDOE AND MILLS 

v. THE CASTLE .... 

VI. THE ABBEY OF ST. WERBUROH . 

VII. THE ANCIENT AND MODERN SEES OF CHESTER 



VIU. CHESTER CATHEDRAL 



IX. OTHER RELIGIOUS HOUSES AND CHURCHES 



X. MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS 



PAGB 
3 

27 
49 

71 
101 
12] 
139 
163 
179 
203 



XI. AMUSEMENTS AND CUSTOMS — THE ROWS — ANCIENT 

HOUSES — THE PORT OF CHESTER .... 225 

XII. SOME DISTINGUISHED CESTRIANS AND VISITORS TO THE 

CITY ......... 263 



APPENDIX — ITINERARY 



INDEX 



. 276 



281 



Vll 



^ 



b 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FULL PAGE 

PAOR 

1. Chester Cathedral FROM THE Wali.8 (S.E.) Frontispiece 

2. Roman Tombstone in the Museum .... 2 

From a photograph by Mr, R. Newstead, by kind permission. 

3. Bridge Street 26 

4. Chester Cathedral from the N.£. . . .48 

5. Old Bridge and St. Mary's without the Walls, 

from the Walls 70 

6. Chester Cathedral, Pulpit in the Refectory . 120 

7. Bishop Lloyd's House 138 

From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co.y Ltd., Reigate. 

8. The Stalls, Chester Cathedral . . . .152 

From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co., Ltd,, Reigate. 

9. St. John's Church, Interior 178 

10. Eastgate Street 202 

11. God's Providence House 224 

From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co., Ltd., Reigate. 

12. The Bear and Billet Inn 252 

From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co., lAd., Reigaie. 

MAPS 

Plan of Chester Castle 100 

Plan op Chester At End 

ix 



I 



SMALLER ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

1. Roman Altar in the Museum 17 



2. Roman Antefix^ with Badge and Standard of 

Twentieth Legion^ in the Museum 

3. Roman Carving on Rock by Edgar's Cave 

4. Anchorite's Cell 

6. Pemberton's Parlour 

6. Phoenix Tower 

7. Morgan's Mount 



8. The Water Tower from Bonewaldesthorne's Tower 85 



9. The Old Bridge at High Tide . 

10. The Wishing Steps and St. John s Church 

11. Caesar's Tower and Bridge Gate 

12. Grosvenor Bridge and Castle . 

13. Wrought-iron Work in Cathedral . 

14. Miserere in Cathedral .... 

From, a photograph by Mr, T, Cann Hughes, by kind permigsion, 

16. Norman Chamber by Cloisters 

From a photograph by Messrs, Frith atid Co.j Ltd.f Relgate, 

16. Wooden Coffin in the Ruins of St. John's Church 

17. In the S. Row, Watergate Street 

From a photograph by Messrs, Frith and Co.^ Ltd., Reigate. 

18. Stanley Palace . . . • . 

19. Yacht Inn 



20. New Gate 

X 



19 
23 
32 
58 
61 
82 



92 
95 
107 
114 
162 
170 

175 

191 
235 

245 
269 
276 



ADDITIONAL ILLUSTRATIONS 

CHAT. P^O« 

I. Initial. Chester and the River^ ... 3 

From a% oLd engraving, 

TaUpiece. The Old North Gate .... 25 

From the drawing in Canon Morris'i * Chester 
in the Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns,' by 
kind permission of the author. 

II. Initial. The Water Tower in the Olden Time . 27 
TaUpiece. The Old Water Gate .... 47 

From Canon Morris's ' Chester, etc.' 

ill. InUial. The Old Ship Gate .... 49 

From Canon Morris's * Che^er, etc' 

Tailpiece. Carved Wood Boss in the Roof of St. 

Mary^s Church .... 60 

From a photograph by Mr, R. Nevfstead, by 
kind permission. 

IV. InUial. The Old Bridge Gate and Tower . .71 

From Canon Morris's * Chester, etc' 

Tailpiece. The Old Bridge, etc 98 

From CuUt's etching, 

V. Initial. Th^ Old Castle Gate and Great Shire 

Hall 101 

From Canon Morris's ' Chester^ etc' 

TaUpiece. Stone Boss in the Cathedral Cloisters . 119 

From a photograph by Mr. R. Newstead, by 
hind permission. 

VI. Initial. The Old East Gate .... 121 

From Canon Morris's ' Chester, etc' 

TaUpiece. Abbey Gateway .... 13t 

xi 



t 



CHAP. PAOS 

VII. Initial. Old Bridge Street .139 

From Cuitt's etching. 

Tailpiece. Carved Wood Boss in the Roof of St. 

Mary's Church 161 

From a photograph by Mr, R, Newstead^ by 
kind permission, 

VIII. Initial. The Cathedral from the N.E. before 

restoration • . . , . . 153 

From an old engraving. 

Tailpiece. Carved Figure in Cathedral Choir • 177 
IX. Initial. The Old Tower of St. John's Church . 179 

From a photograph by Messrs, Frith and Co., 
Ltd., Reigate 

Tailpiece. Saxon Crosses at St. John's Church • 200 

From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co,, 
Ltd., Bdgate 

X. Initial, The Pentice 203 

From the old Pictures in Canon Morris's 
' Chester^ etc.' 

TaUpiece. The Castle from the Bridge in 1901 . 223 

XI. Initial. The Rows in Watergate Street • . 225 
Tailpiece. The Crypt in Watergate Street . . 250 

By kind permission of Messrs^ QtuUyn, Roberts 
and Co, 

XII. Initial. God's Providence House before Recon- 

struction 253 

From a photograph by Messrs. Frith and Co,, 
Ltd., Reigate 

TaUpiece. View up the River from the Mills . 274 



xu 




NOTE 

Thanks are due to the Rev. Canon 
Morris for kindly allowing the Artist to 
make use of the engravings, chiefly from 
contemporary sources^ in his work, Chester 
in the Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns ; and to 
the Rev. J. M. New of the Cathedral, and 
Mr. Robert Newstead of the Grosvenor 
Museum, for their generous assistance. 



Xlll 



PREFACE 

The desire of the writer in compiling this book has 
been to link incident and place as closely as possible 
one with the other. Hence the descriptions of the 
various objects of antiquarian interest, in which 
Chester is so rich, are given in connection with that 
part of the history of the city to which they seem 
most closely to belong, and not in their topogra- 
phical relationship to one another. Such a plan, it 
might be urged, has the disadvantage of rendering 
the book less convenient for use as a guide by 
strangers. It is hoped that their needs will be met 
by the Itinerary at the end, wherein will be found 
full instructions for making a journey around and 
through the city, with references to the pages con- 
taining information on the several objects of interest 
encountered on the way. In the preparation of this 
book, many works have been referred to and quoted 
from. * I deliver,' as Churchyard pleaded, * but 
what I have scene and read : alledging for defence 
both auncient authors, and good tryall of all that is 
written.** Canon Morris's Chester durvng the Plan- 
tagenet and Tudor Periods^ and the late Mr. Hughes's 
Cheshire Sheafs have been so peculiarly valuable to 
me that it would be ingratitude not to make special 
mention of them. To Mr. Newstead, Curator of the 

XV 



{ 



Preface Grosvenor Museum, and the Rev. J. M. New, M.A., 
I owe much for their kind help ; and with their names 
I must not omit to mention that of my friend Mr. 
E. H. New, who for his charming illustrations, and 
for the many hints which he has given me, has placed 
me, not for the first time, deeply in his debt. 

B. C. A. WINDLE 

Weatherbury, Harborne, 

May 1903 



XVI 



^ 



r* 



r 'A-> - 



V 



,f/'iM-, 

|0PT10LL'"/>f 



KOUAN TOMBSTONE 



THE EABI.Y HISTOBY OF CHKSTEE 

LIKE many of her 
sister cities in 
this land, Chester 
presents no certain 
evidence as to who 
were her first build- 
ers ; appears, indeed, 
shrouded in the web 
of legend which older 
writers have woven 
around her early his- 
tory, Webb, writing 
in 162 J, says: 'The 
first name that I find 
this city to have been 
supposed to have borne was Neonmgus ; and this they 
derive from Magus, the son of Samothes, who was the 
first planter of inhabitants in this isle, after Noah's 
flood, which now containeth England, Scotland, and 
Wales; and. of him was called Samothes, and this 
Samothes was son to Japhet, the third son of Noah ; 
and of this Magus, who first built a city even in this 
place or near unto it, as it is supposed, the same was 
3 




The City called Neomagus. This conjecture I find observed 

of out the learned knight. Sir Thomas Elliott, who saith 

Chester directly, that Neomagus stood where Chester now 

standeth.^ Other ancient retailers of the marvellous 

have ascribed its original construction to the hands 

of giants — 

^ The founder of this city^ as saith Polychronicon^ 
Was Leon Gawer^ a mighty strong giant.' 

'But,' says Camden, Hhe very name may serve to 
confute such plebeian antiquaries as would derive it 
from Lean Var, a giant, seeing Lean Var, in the 
British language, signifieth nothing else but the great 
legion/ Here we begin to come nearer to the truth, 
so far as we now know it ; for whatever may have been 
the actual origin of the city which to-day is called 
Chester, whoever they were who first occupied this 
site and made it their home, it is to the period when 
Rome was mistress of this island that we have to look 
if we are to discover the earliest verifiable facts 
respecting the city by the wizard stream of Dee. Its 
position is such as to make it the key to an important 
district, for occupying a commanding position, as it 
does, on the plain between the Dee and the Mersey, 
it lies between the two natural fastnesses of a defeated 
and flying enemy — the mountains of Wales, and the 
hills of the north-west and of Yorkshire. And so we 
find in later history that one of the two decisive con- 
flicts which destroyed the British sphere of influence 
in the island was that fought at Chester, which cut 
off the Celts of Strathclyde from those of Wales and 
the south-west. 

Here, then, on the cliff of red sandstone which 
overhangs the river — and at that time the waters 
which lapped its foot were those of a broad estuary — 

4 



the Romans constructed a fortress to watch over this 
portion of their dominions and to keep ward over the 
fierce natives who had found a hiding-place in the 
neighbouring hills. From the name of the river on 
which it was situated it was called Deva, and from its 
peculiarly military nature Castra Legionum, * a name,' 
says the late Bishop Creighton, * which it still retains 
par excellence. For though many places in England 
Dear the marks of their origin as sites of Roman gar- 
risons in the termination Chester or caster, the Camp 
on the Dee bears only the name of Chester, as though 
it were so clearly the chief station of the Roman 
army that no other could equal it in importance/ 
According to their origin, ecclesiastical, military, or 
otherwise, towns may be arranged into groups, as 
Mr. Freeman has shown in his History of Exeter ; and 
amongst his first group, that is, towns of Roman 
origin which have throughout all English history kept 
a certain position as heads of shires, heads of dioceses, 
or in some way places rf importance, Chester must 
always occupy an honourable position. Although it 
would be going too far to claim for Chester the place 
of honour amongst the military centres of the Roman 
period, there can be no doubt that it occupied a very 
important position amongst them, and, as Mr. Haver- 
field has recently shown, was remarkable in that, 
unlike almost all Roman towns in this country and 
elsewhere, it was purely and entirely a military station. 
* Deva,' he says, * was from first to last a fortress, 
always garrisoned by troops, always devoid of organised 
civic life and municipal institutions, but difiering 
from some other fortresses by the fact that its gar- 
rison consisted of legionary and not of auxiliary 
troops.' 

The garrison towns of Roman Britain were origi- 

5 



The 

Early 

History 

of 

Chester 



r 



The City nally constructed as independent fortresses, not that 
of they were occupied solely and entirely by fighting 

Chester men, for of course there would also have been the 
wives and children of the soldiers, camp-followers, 
and others, but that they were intended primarily for 
military purposes, like the Aldershot of our own day. 
But in many, indeed, in most cases, a non-military 
population soon grew up around this military nucleus ; 
suburbs occupied by traders and others became 
attached to the town ; in fact, a * bazaar^ was formed. 
Thus gradually the town became of importance for 
other than military reasons, obtained a constitution — 
a charter as we should now call it — ^secured the right 
of self-government, and became a colonia or muni- 
cipium. Such was the case at York, which, though it 
was the seat of the third of the British legions, did 
become a town with a regular municipal constitution. 
There is no trace of anything of this kind having ever 
happened at Chester. Suburbs it had, for they have 
been traced along the Boughton road outside the east 
gate of the city ; but Chester never grew into a town. 
A purely military station it was at its origin, and a 
purely military station it remained. There is no 
evidence even that it advanced to that kind of inter- 
mediate position occupied by towns which never 
arrived at full municipal honours. Such towns appear 
as the possessors of a certain body of Roman traders 

(cives Romani consistentes m ), a kind of quasi-civic 

element, not rising to the dignity of a constitution. 
Chester presents no evidence of trade, though no 
doubt it must have been in some way connected with 
the lead-mines in Flint, and perhaps some of the pigs 
of that metal may have found their way into the city. 
Indeed, it seems likely that a pig of lead, with the 
name of Vespasian imprinted on it, which was found 
6 



on the Roodeye, then the floor of the estuary, may 
have been dropped from some ship which was being 
unloaded of its cargo by the Chester quay. If this 
be so, the lead may have been brought there purely 
for the purposes of the garrison, or perhaps more 
probably in payment of taxes ; at )any rate, there is no 
evidence of the existence of any traders, or at least 
of any organised trading body. Deva most nearly 
resemoles that other great military centre, whicn 
guarded the southern parts of Wales, Caerleon-on- 
Usk, the Isca Silurum of the Roman period. This 
again was never a colonia; indeed, Mr. Haverfield 
considers that it was so purely militaiy in its nature, 
that he is unwilling to allow that the bishop who was 
at the Council of Aries, and has always been supposed 
to have had his see at Caerleon, was really connected 
with that spot, preferring to assign Lincoln as the 
place of his episcopal chair. The fortresses which 
guarded the Roman Wall, that great work of military 
engineering, have much in common with Chester. 
They also were purely military in their conception, 
and remained purely military to the end. These, 
however, were garrisoned by auxiliary troops and not 
by legions, and in this respect, as will be seen shortly, 
they differed from the city on the Dee. Deva, then, 
was a somewhat unusual kind of town, of a class un- 
common not merely in Britain, but in other parts of 
the vast Roman Empire. * If,' says Mr. Haverfield, 
from whose writings is to be learnt much that is now 
known about Roman Chester, * if we carry the com- 
parison across the Channel we shall find very few 
parallels to Chester. On the continent the legionary 
fortresses nearly always became cohnice : they re- 
semble York, not Chester or Caerleon, and this is 
significant of Roman Britain. The province was one 

7 



The 

Early 

History 

of 

Chester 




The City which, above all others, was purely a military province, 
of It was in reality a military frontier, with little share 

Chester in the civil life of the empire. Chester and Caerleon 
are characteristic features of a distant borderland."* 
It has just been pointed out that Deva was garrisoned 
by legionaries, and not by auxiliary forces. A legion 
was composed of from four to six thousand men. 
These were mostly Roman citizens ; they were better 
paid, they fulfilled a longer term of service, and they 
had a larger bounty on retiring. They were almost 
wholly infantry. The auxiliaries, on the contrary, 
in regiments five hundred to a thousand strong, were 
either infantry or cavalry, and were mainly recruited 
from provincials who did not enjoy the Roman fran- 
chise. Of this latter class of soldier there were few 
or none at Chester, so far as the existent records 
allow us to judge. It seems probable that it was 
occupied as a fortress about the latter end of the 
reign of Claudius, a.d. 50-54, and was no doubt in 
existence when Suetonius commenced his campaign 
against Anglesea — that is, in a.d. 61. Some ten or 
fifteen years later we find it occupied by the Legio ii., 
Adiutrix. After that legion left the island, its place 
at Deva was taken by the Legio xx., Valeria Victrix, 
the latter words being its sub-title or second name ; 
for many of the legions possessed a second name, just 
as some of our regiments are known as * The Black 
Watch,' or ' The Connaught Rangers,' as well as by 
their oflicial or numerical title. It is possible that 
both the second and twentieth legions may have occu- 
pied Deva together for a time ; at any rate, it is clear 
that the latter was in garrison there down to the 
third century. From the coins which have been dis- 
covered it seems possible that Deva was a place of 
Roman occupation in the fourth century. It is not, 
8 



however, mentioned in the Notitia^ the British part of 
which, according to Mommsen, was compiled about 
A.D. 296 or 300, nor is any reference made therein to 
the twentieth legion. In fact, there is not much to 
be learnt about Deva from outside sources, for its 
name is only known to occur once in a foreign inscrip- 
tion, and that is at Worms, and reads : * (In honorem) 
domu(s) divinae, Marti Loucetio Sacrum, Amandus 
Velugni f. Devas.' 

In the sixth century the place lay waste, and its 
later history will be dealt with in another chapter. 
So far as we are now concerned, we may close the 
account of Deva by the description which Giraldus 
Cambrensis gives of it some six centuries later than 
the last-mentioned date, a description which contains 
no doubt some elements of truth, embellished in the 
Geraldine manner. ' It is,' he says, * a genuine city 
of the Legions, surrounded by walls of brick (or tiles)"* 
— muris coctilibus circumdata — ' in which manv 
remains of its pristine grandeur are still apparent, 
namely, immense palaces, a gigantic tower, beautiful 
baths, remains of temples, and sites of theatres, almost 
entirely enclosed by excellent walls, in part remain- 
ing ; also, both within and without the circumference 
of the walls, subterranean constructions, watercourses, 
vaults with passages. You may also see furnaces 
(hypocausts, stvphas) constructed with wonderful art, 
the narrow sides of which exhale heat by concealed 
spiracles."* Of these marvels, genuine or imaginary, 
few remain to this day ; yet there are abundant relics 
of the time when Chester was an outpost of the 
greatest empire the World has seen, and these must 
now briefly be reviewed. Naturally one turns, in the 
first place, to the walls, with the view of ascertaining 
how far they belong to the period with which we are 

9 



The 

Early 

History 

of 

Chester 




The City now concerned. Without dealing here in any com- 
of plete fashion with the vexed question of the history 

Chester of the walls, a matter to be subsequently touched 
upon, it may here be said that the line of the north 
wall is quite clearly that of the Roman fortification ; 
in fact, when it became necessary in recent years to 
repair it, the discovery was made that the interior of 
the lower part was full of inscribed and sculptured 
stones, the greater part of which had been taken from 
the cemetery attached to Deva. On the stones thus 
discovered depends much of the information which it 
has been possible to accumulate respecting the history 
of the Roman city. They have been carefully ex- 
amined and catalogued by Mr. Haverfield, who, in 
the preface to his excellent Catalogue of the Roman 
Inscribed and Sculptured Stones in the Grosvenor 
Museum^ Chester^ published by the Chester and North 
Wales Archaeological and Historic Society, gives an 
account of this portion of the wall and the objects 
found there, which may here be reproduced. The 
inscriptions and sculptured stones were ranged with 
considerable regularity inside the lower courses of the 
wall. These courses were finely faced with massive 
blocks of evident Roman masonry ; the stones in the 
interior were exclusively of Roman character, and the 
whole structure of these lower courses may be taken 
to be Roman. Their precise date is harder to deter- 
mine. The inscriptions found in them belong princi- 
pally, as it seems, to the first century and to the 
earlier half of the second. A few may be as early as 
A.D. 50-60 ; those of the Legio ii., Adiutrix, may be 
dated a.d. 70-86 ; one, on the contrary, cannot be 
earlier than about a.d. 150. It would, therefore, 
seem probable that the wall which contained these 
stones was erected in the latter part of the second 
lO 



century or in the commencement of the third century. 
Some building was executed at the latter period, 
probably between a.d. 198 and 209, in the Roman 
fort at Carnarvon, and it is possible that the north 
wall of the fortress at Chester was then built or 
rebuilt. The east wall, from the Phoenix Tower to 
Newgate, was apparently built or rebuilt at the same 
time and in the same manner; but the excavations 
made in it at various dates have revealed no inscrip- 
tions and very few sculptured stones. We may 
suppose that a cemetery lay ready to hand outside 
the North Gate and was used, while no such supply 
was accessible to the builders of the east wall. 
Whether the building accompanied an enlargement 
of the fortress is less certain than is generally asserted. 
The employment of tombstones as a packing for the 
interior of the wall is certainly a matter calculated 
to cause considerable astonishment. There would 
have been nothing remarkable in the fact of later 
occupants of the city so utilising the relics of 
dead Roman soldiers. But that Romans them- 
selves should use Roman tombstones can scarcely 
fail to evoke astonishment. The Roman law, 
Mr. Haverfield, when dealing with this question, 

Joints out, certainly forbade private individuals to 
isturb graves, but the Roman Government seems to 
have been free from, or to have over-ridden, the pro- 
hibition. When Trajan built his Forum at Rome, 
early in the second century a.d., the soil which was 
cleared to make a level space for it was deposited on 
the top of the tombs along the Via Salaria, and 
visitors to Rome may now see the great circular 
monument of Paetus and Polla in the process of being 
unearthed from Trajan's burial of it. A quite 
different example may be quoted from the Roman 

II 



The 

Early 
History 
of 
Chester 



The City Wall in England on the frontiers of the empire, 
of At the fort of Aesica (Great Chesters) Roman tomb- 

Chester stones were found to form flooring slabs in a Roman 
edifice, and though the dates of the tombstones and 
of the edifice are uncertain, it is not improbable that 
both belong to the second or the opening of the third 
century. In later times instances abound freely. 
The towns of Gaul which fortified themselves in the 
third and fourth centuries largely used their 
cemeteries as quarries; and at Worms tombstones 
were used even to ballast a fourth-century roadway. 
It has accordingly been proposed to date our Chester 
wall to the fourth century ; but it is better work than 
would be expected at so late a period in Britain, and 
the hypothesis is not at all necessary. A large 
number of the inscribed stones so strangely and 
unexpectedly recovered, together with other objects 
belonging to the period of the Roman domination, 
are to be seen in the Grosvenor Museum, where as at 
Newcastle-on-Tyne, York, and some other places, the 
student of the early history of this country will find 
much to throw light upon a part of the subject, con- 
cerning which more is to be learnt from the monu- 
ments, altars, and other relics which time has spared 
to us, than from the pages of contemporary writers. 
In all, at Chester there are about one hundred and 
thirty tombstones, presenting a great variety of 
design, but noteworthy for the most part on account 
of their great size and their ambitious nature. These 
characteristics are probably due to the fact that they 
were erected in memory of legionaries, the wealthier 
class of military men, for in the cases of auxiliaries 
the stones are fewer in number and smaller in size. 

The tombstones discovered in Chester fall into 
several categories. Simplest of all are the rect- 

12 



angular slabs with a moulded border or a triangular The 
gable top, which were set up in the earth with the Early 
ashes of the dead person whom they commemorated History 
at their foot. This class of monument was especially of 
affected by the soldiers of the Second Adiutrix. Chester 
This legion, with the First of the same name, was 
enrolled somewhere about the year 69 a.d. from 
amongst the men of the fleets which formed the 
Mediterranean squadron of the Koman Empire. 
These fleets were not manned by Roman citizens, 
but by provincials, many of whom came from 
Pannonia, Dalmatia, and Thrace. These provin- 
cials, however, on enrolment became citizens, and 
as such were provided with a legal birthplace and 
tribe, such as all other Roman citizens had. But 
this birthplace was not necessarily or even probably 
the spot at whfch the future soldier saw the light. 
So that when we find a soldier described upon his 
tombstone as having been bom at Aprus, a Roman 
colonia in Thrace, it does not necessarily mean that 
he was born there, but that, on becoming a Roman 
citizen, he was enrolled a member of that town. On 
the monuments just named, as well as upon those of 
a more ambitious character which have yet to be 
mentioned, are to be found, first, the letters D.M., 
i.e. Dis Manibus, equivalent to our * Sacred to the 
Memory of,' and then the name of the soldier, his 
tribe and birthplace — legal or actual — the years of his 
life and of his military service, and the name of the 
person who was responsible for the erection of the 
monument. Of the more ambitious forms of monu- 
ment, some bear figures of the deceased person in 
relief. A good example of this kind of tombstone 
is that shown at the commencement of this chapter 
(No. 38 in Museum). The inscription reads, * D.M. 

13 




The City Caecilius Avitus Emer(ita) Aug(ustos), optis leg. xx. 
of V(aleri8B) V(ictncis) st(i)p(endiorum) xv. Vix(it) 

Chester an(nos) xxxiiii. H(eres) f(aciendum) c(uravit) ' — * To 
the memory of Caecilius Avitus of Emerita Augusta, 
^optio** of the Twentieth Legion, Valeria Victrix, 
who served 15 years and died at 34. His heir had 
this erected.' The optio was an officer lower than 
the centurion, and Emerita was a Roman cohnia in 
Lusitania, now Merida in Spain. Another example 
of this class is the tombstone of a centurion of the 
Twentieth Legion (No. 37 in Grosvenor Museum). 
On this monument are full-length figures of the cen- 
turion (on the dexter side) and his wife (sinister). He 
carries a staff in his right hand, and a roll or some 
similar object in his left. His wife grasps a cup in her 
right hand, and holds up her dress with her left. 
The inscription is as follows : * D.M.»— M. Aur(elius) 
Nepos > leg. xx. V(aleriae) V(ictricis). Coniux 
pientissima f(aciendum) c(uravit) vixit annis 1'; or, 
' To the memory of Marcus Aurelius Nepos, centurion 
(the sign like a V lying on its side is the centurial 
sign^) in the Twentieth Legion, Valeria Victrix: 
erected by his dutiful wife. He lived 60 years.** It 
should be noted that on the left side of this stone 
there is a further inscription, ' sub ascia d(edicatum),'' 
with a representation above it of two mason's tools, 
one of which is probably the ascia^ a sort of combined 
axe and hammer. The inscription, which means, 
'dedicated whilst still under the hammer,' may be 
taken to mean, what actually was the case with 
respect to this stone, since there is no inscription 
for the wife, that it was dedicated before it was quite 
finished. Mr. Haverfield states that this formula 

^ ue, of the company of one hundred men of which the centurion 
was the leader. 

14 



was much used in southern Gaul, but rarely elsewhere, The 
and that this is its only appearance in Britain. Early 
Another type is that on which a triumphant horse- History 
man is shown riding over his prostrate barbarian foe. of 
This class of monument, met with in other English Chester 
collections, originated in Greece, and is to be found 
at Athens on monuments as early as the fifth century 
B.C. The Sepulchral Banquet Relief is of still earlier 
origin, and has been met with in Assyria, Greece, 
Etruria, and in certain parts of the Roman Empire. 
'It is common in the military forts of the Rhine 
frontier ; and, as there was close connexion between 
the British and Rhenish military arrangements, it 
may well have reached Deva from the Rhine. Its 
original significance may have been a representation 
of ancestor worship, but its use during the Roman 
Empire seems to have been mostly quite conven- 
tional ** (Haverfield). Prof. P. Gardiner points out, 
in the Journal of Hellenic Studies^ that the earliest 
types of this form of monument are to be found on 
certain early Attic and Laconian tombstones, on 
which the dead person is represented as seated in 
state holding a cup and pomegranate to receive the 
worship of his descendants. The winecup is to 
remind them to pour out libations to him, whilst the 
pomegranate is the special food of the dead. In 
this class of monument the dead person is repre- 
sented as reclining on a couch by the side of which is 
a small three-legged table. A good example will 
be found in No. 66 in the Museum, on which the 
deceased is represented on a couch, holding a cup in 
his right hand and a roll in his left. He reclines on 
his left arm, and by him is his wife or child : below is 
a three-legged table. 

The inscription, which seems to be imperfect at its 

15 




The City conclusion, runs : * D.M. — C(a)ecilius Donatus, Bessus 
of natione militavit annos xxvi. vixit annos xxxx . . / ; 

Chester or, * To the memory of Caecilius Donatus, by birth a 
BeSsian, who served 26 years, and lived 40 years."* 
Finally, there are the panels covered with mythical 
scenes or incidents from daily life : ^ Actaeon changing 
into a stag and assailed by his own hounds ; Hercules 
killing the sea-monster and rescuing Hesione, who had 
been fettered to a rock as its victim ; a Siren ; a 
Cupid ; and so forth. We have no direct proof that 
these panels ever formed parts of sepulchral erections. 
But the fact that they were all found in the North 
Wall is significant ; and it is well known that both 
in Italy and in the Provinces such scenes were carved 
on tombs ; instances occur, for example, in Germany. 
Why they were selected for the purpose we do not 
know, but the custom is here again far older than the 
Romans. Both the Greeks and, in imitation of them, 
the Etruscans, employed such scenes in decorating 
their graves. The artistic skill displayed on these 
panels, as on all the sculptured tombs of Chester, is 
very slight, and the execution frequently provokes a 
smile. The things are indeed the products of soldiers 
in a remote and frontier fortress. But it is note- 
worthy that in this remote spot the Roman fashions 
of sepulchral monuments find full exemplification. 
And it is hardly less noteworthy that no single stone 
shows any trace of native influence, of the Late Celtic 
style, or of any British peculiarity. In this the 
monuments of Deva resemble those of Britain in 
general.** ^ 

The altars found in and about Chester are com- 
paratively few in number, and bear dedications to the 
genius of a century, or are dedicated to gods wor- 

^ Haverfield. 

i6 



shipped by all soldiers. Of the first kind, that figured The 

in the t^t (No. 3 in the Museum) is an example. Early 

The inscription reads : ' Geuio 

Sancto centurie Aelius Claiidian(us) 

optio v(otum) a(olvit) ' — ' Aelius 

Claudianus, optio, pays hia vow to 

the Genius of his Century.' The 

sacrificial knife and axe are to be 

seen at the side in the illustration. 

No. 3 in the Museum is another 

example ; on its dexter side is 

carved the sacrificial dish, and on 

its sinister the sacrificial jug, 

whilst the back is ornamented with 

a zig-zag pattern It is in- 
scribed * Genio > ' (i e cen- 
turiae), 'To the Genius of 
the Century.' No 5, which 
was found in 1693 at the 
comer of Newgate Street, ^ 
has on one side a Genius '' 
with a cornucopia, or horn 
of plenty, and a dish, and 

on the otiier a vase with acanthus leaves On its 
back is a festoon, and it bears the inscription : 
'Pro sal(ute) domin(oru)m n(ostrorum) invie{t)issi- 
morum Aug(ustomm) Genio loci, Flaviu^ Longu(s) 
trib(unus) mil(itum) leg. xx. v(aleriae) v(ictricis et) 
Longinus fi[l(ius)] eius domo Samosata, v(otum) 
8(olvunt) ' ; or, ' For the safety of our lords the invin- 
cible Emperors, dedicated to the Genius of the Spot 
by Flavius Longus, Military Tribune in the Twentieth 
liiegion, Valeria Victrix, and by his son Longinus, 
(both) from Samosata.' Another interesting altar is 
No. 8, which bears upon it an inscription to those 
B 17 




The City strange deities, the Mother Goddesses: *Deab(us) 
of Matrib(us) v(otuin) m(erito)/ * Erected to the Mother 

Chester Goddesses.'' It is doubtful whether these personages 
were German or perhaps originally Celtic deities, but 
they were much worshipped on the Rhine, in Roman 
Britain, and elsewhere. Mr. Haverfield points out 
that the Roman troops in our island were largely 
recruited in Germany, and that they probably brought 
the cult over with them. Attention may be called to 
one more example. No. 10, which bears a Greek 
inscription, which, being translated, reads : * To the 
Gods that are strong to save, I, Hermogenes, a Phy- 
sician, set this altar.' Samosata is on the banks of 
the Euphrates, the Mother Goddesses come from the 
shores of the Rhine, and the physician is a Greek. 
These three altars give one a vivid impression of the 
cosmopolitan composition of the population of so 
remote an outpost of the empire as was Deva. A 
further series of objects are the centurial stones, that 
is, slabs bearing inscriptions commemorating the 
execution of certain pieces of work, such as road- 
making and wall-building, by bodies of soldiers, the 
name of the centurion standing for the century 
responsible for the work. No. 16 in the Museum is 
an example of such a stone, with the inscription, 
* Coh(ortis) i > Ocrati Maximi. LMP** ; or, * The cen- 
tury of Ocratius Maximus, in the first cohort (of the 
legion) built this piece of wall.'' Mr. Haverfield 
thinks that the letters LMP stand for the initials of 
the soldier who cut the stone, and that it probably 
originally stood in the east wall, between which 
and Newgate Street it seems to have been found in 
1748. 

Further relics of the Legio xx. are to be seen in 
the antefixes for decorating the eaves or pediments of 
i8 



I 



tiled roofs, which show the boar, the badge of the The 
legion in question : Na SOO, shown in the annexed Early 

History 
of 
Chester 




.^, 



figure, is an example of this class of object. No. 196, 
a pig of lead found in 1838 about 1^ miles east of the 
East Gate, when the railway between Chester and 
Crewe was under construction, is a good example of 
the intermediate stage in the utilisation of this metal. 
Like other pigs found here and elsewhere it bears an 
inscription, 'IMP. VESP. V. T. IMP. III. COS,' on 
the top, with the word 'DECEANGI' on the side. 
The inscription means : ' This pig was cast while 
19 



The City Vespasian was Consul for the fifth time and Titus for 
of the third time (a.d. 74) : lead from the mines of the 

Chester Deceangi.** An example of the finished product can 
be examined in the shape of a piece of leaden pipe 
which once formed part of the water service of Deva 
(No. 199), and was found in 1899 on the north side 
of Eastgate Street. It is four inches in diameter, and 
has the inscription which follows on a raised panel 
forty-eight inches in length : * Imp(eratore) Vesp(asi- 
ano) viiii T(ito) imp(eratore) vii co(n)s(ulibus), Cn(aeo) 
lulio Agricola leg(ato) Aug(usti) pr(o) pr(aetore'; or, 
* (This lead pipe was made) when Vespasian and Titus 
were consuls for the ninth and seventh times respec- 
tively, and when Cn. lulius Agricola was Governor of 
Britain.' * The date is the first half of the year 79. 
Agricola is the famous Agricola who was Governor 
of Britain, a.d. 78-85, and whose life was written by 
his son-in-law Tacitus.'^ Any person familiar with 
other museums of Roman objects, such as those at 
Colchester, York, or Newcastle, can scarcely fail to 
be struck with the paucity of examples of pottery, 
and of the small domestic objects which belong to a 
more settled and comfortable life than that of a 
soldier on outpost duty, contained in the Chester 
collection. The absence of such objects is due to the 
fact that, to use Mr. HaverfieWs words, * ordinary, 
comfortable middle-class life was absent,"* the city was 
purely military, from first to last a fortress. Owing 
to the fact that the area of Deva has been built over 
' and occupied for centuries by generations of other 
races than its Roman originators, it is impossible to 
construct any ground-plan of the Roman city, or even 
to say where the west and south walls lay. The line 
of the north wall can be fairly clearly made out, for 

^ Haverfield. 
20 



it corresponds almost absolutely with that of the 
mediaeval rampart. As for the east wall, that stood 
a few feet further out than the existing structure. 
In the basement of Messrs. Dickson'*s seed warehouse 
in St. John'*s Street a portion of the Roman wall has 
been preserved as a memorial. This shows the face 
and set-off of the outer €ispect, and this face is seven- 
teen feet from the face of the existing wall, which 
may be looked upon as wholly mediaeval. The frag- 
ment of wall in question is only a part of that which 
was discovered ; for, as a matter of fact, it was exposed 
in the entire length of the excavations made for the 
purpose of erecting the buildings. It was not possible 
to retain this portion of the wall, but the proprietors 
were good enough to save this fragment, in order that 
those interested in the subject might see what the old 
wall actually looked like. The great mass of Roman 
masonry lying near the Grand Stand, and above the 
Roodeye, which was almost certainly the Roman 
Quay, must not be neglected in the consideration of 
the remains of Deva. A part of the masonry here 
has been thoroughly exposed and railed off by the 
Corporation, so that it can be adequately inspected. 
Of the other important remains of Deva still in situ^ 
mention must now be made. In the first place, there 
are the remains of a bath in Bridge Street, where are 
to be seen a tank supplied by a spring and a hypo- 
caust. The hypocaust was a chamber under the floor 
of a room — of course, a ground-floor room — into which 
hot-air and smoke were admitted from a neighbouring 
furnace, by which means the room above was warmed. 
The floor in such cases was composed of concrete 
supported on pillars, sometimes of stone, sometimes 
built up of heaps of tiles. Such objects are to be seen 
in the remains of Roman cities and villas in different 

21 



The 

Early 

History 

of 

Chester 







The City parts of the kingdom. In Chester the pillars of a hypo- 
of caust — not, of course, in situ — are to be seen in the 

Chester public garden near the Water Tower. In the particular 
instance with which we are now concerned, there are 
in the Bridge Street hypocaust twenty-eight pillars still 
standing, each of which is two and a half feet in height, 
and one foot square at the top and bottom. On the 
opposite side of the same street, and somewhat nearer 
to the Crossj there are some important remains in the 
back of a house called * The Grotto.** These consist 
of a low wall, on tlie top of which are the bases of 
some pillars, showing that here there was some kind 
of colonnade. When this discovery was made, it was 
also found that on the opposite siae of the pillars to 
that on which the visitor stands there was a water- 
trough or gutter. This, unfortunately, cannot now 
be seen, as it is covered by the wall of the room which 
has been built upon it. 

In Watergate Street, behind a butcher's shop 
(Crew"*s), is the base of a Roman pillar in situ^ which 
gives us the level of the street at this point in Roman 
times. Again, in Northgate Street, on the west side, 
and under a shop known as Vernon's Toy Bazaar, 
there are the bases of some very large pillars, obviously 
from their size the pillars of some very iniportant 
building. The shaft of one of these, lying on its side, 
is to be seen projecting into the basement. The 
remainder of the pillar, probably with further portions 
of the building, no doubt lies concealed under the 
adjacent house. If we accept the statement that 
St. Peter's Church occupied the position of the Prae- 
torium, it will be seen that the building with whose 
remains we are now concerned was very close to that ' 

spot, and may very probably have been one of the 
important public edifices of Deva. In any case, we 

22 \ 



may safely regard the medmval centre of the city. The 
- where the High Cross stood and the Pentice over- Early 

History 
of 
Chester 




K CAKVING BV 



looked the four streets, where St, Peter's Church still 
23 



The City stands, as having been the centre also of Deva. We 
of may also believe that the four main streets of modem 

Chester Chester occupy practically the position of the four 
main thoroughfares of the Roman city. In fact, 
Foregate Street, Eastgate Street, and Watergate 
Street are all parts of that great road which traversed 
London, and thence ran to Chester, which in Saxon 
times came to be called the Watling Street. This 
was one of the most important of all the great roads 
which the military genius of the Roman conquerors 
constructed in this country. Leading, as it did, 
from the ports in the south-east comer of the island, 
through London, to the great city of Viroconium, 
now the petty village of Wroxeter, beneath the 
shadow of the Wrekin, it worked its way to Chester, 
and there connected with the roads leading into the 
wild districts of Wales. At Viroconium a second 
road, now also called the Watling Street, passed 
through Shropshire, by the Stettons which owe their 
name to their proximity to this Via, and Hereford- 
shire, as far as Caerleon-on-Usk. By means of these 
two streets Deva was connected with its sister 
fortress on the southern limit of the marches of 
Wales. It was also connected by the main street 
with London and with other important stations and 
cities which lay in the course of this great and 
important military highway. It is certain that 
the Roman city was of far smaller dimensions 
than the present area enclosed by the walls, but 
Deva may have been enlarged more than once. 
Amongst the relics of the Roman occupation there is 
one outside the walls which calls for some notice, and 
that is the statue of Minerva which is carved on the 
rock in Edgar's Field, beside the cavity known as 
Edgar's Cave. The figure, as may be seen from the 
24 



drawing, is now almost obliterated, but it is believed The 
to represent the goddess in question, her right arm Early 
supported by a spear. On the same side is an altar, History 
and over her left shoulder is the owl, her symbol, of 
There was in Roman times a ford across the Dee at Chester 
this point, and the road from it led past this rock. 
It is possible that there may here have been a shrine 
where travellers prayed or made offerings either before 
or after encountering tlie dangers of the passage. 





L 



CHAPTER II 



THE SAXON AND NOSMAN FERIODS 

WE have no certain 
knowledge as to the 
date at which the Roman 
soldiers left Chester, nor 
can we come to any definite 
conclusion as to the exact 
fate of the Roman city 
after their departure. Pro- 
bably it mayhftve remained 
a 'waste cheater' for some 
considerable period, for 
there was no civic popula- 
tion, as for example at 
Viroconium, to continue the life of the town 
after the departure of the military. But when the 
Saxon invaders had driven the native Britons 
from their homes on the eastern side of the island 
to take refuge with their brethren on the west, 
Chester once more becomes a place of historic in- 
terest. Roughly speaking, we may think of England 
at a certain point of the Saxon period as longi- 
tudinally divided between invaders and invaded — the 
former possessing the eastern, the latter the western 
27 




The City half. This latter continuous strip of territory, to 
of which alone the name of Britain properly belonged, 

Chester was divided into three parts by two decisive and 
important battles. That fought at Deorham in 677, 
on the Cotswold Hills, not far from Bath, divided 
what we now know as the Principality of Wales from 
southern Britain, consisting of parts of Somerset and 
Devon and Cornwall. And in a similar manner the 
battle of Chester, in 607, cut oflF the Principality from 
the northern Britain of the district of Strathclyde 
and Northumbria. Prior to this engagement, Cheshire 
had formed part of the kingdom of Gwynedd, as 
North Wales was called, and it was to the destruction 
of this part of the British realm that Aethelfrith, 
king of Northumbria, looked as the result of the 
conflict. The Saxon forces were met by all the men 
that the British prince could collect, and with them 
came a large body of monks, from the monastery of 
Bangor Iscoed, to assist with their prayers. This 
religious establishment, situated in Flintshire, about 
twenty miles from Chester, was a place of very great 
importance in the monastic world — * the mother of all 
others in the world,' says one writer, with perhaps 
pardonable exaggeration. It had amongst its sons 
at least two men whose names are never likely to be 
forgotten. The first of these, one Morgan, better 
known under his other name of Pelagius, was the 
author of a once-famous heresy; whilst the other, 
Gildas, the first of the historians of Britain, in his 
work De exddio Britannice^ gives a lurid picture of 
the treatment which the unfortunate Celts received 
at the hands of their Saxon invaders. According to 
a legend connected with the battle, there were no 
fewer than one thousand monks from this establish- 
ment present at the battle of Chester. After 
28 



and 

Norman 

Periods 



learning who they were and what the object of The 
their presence, Aethelfrith is reported to have Saxon 
orderea that they also should be slain, in the event 
of victory waiting upon the Saxon banners, saying, 
' Whether they bear arms or not, they fight against 
us by crying to their God.' The destruction of this 
large body of ecclesiastics was afterwards regarded 
as the fulfilment of the prophecy uttered by St. 
Augustine, at the time when the representatives of 
the Britons refused to accept his authority and 
conform to the customs of the rest of the Christian 
Church. Later on Mercia secured what Northumbria 
had originally appropriated : Wulfhere, king of the 
first-named district, seizing from the northern king 
that part of his dominions which, lying south of the 
Mersey, includes the modern Cheshire. Wulfhere 
was the first Christian king of Mercia, so that under 
his sway Chester, we may suppose, was once more 
freed from paganism. An abiding memorial of his 
sovereignty is to be found not only in Chester but 
also in other parts of what was once the kingdom of 
Mercia, in the dedication of churches to his aaughter 
St. Werburgh, a characteristically Mercian saint. She 
was professed a nun under her aunt St. Aethelthryth 
or Audrey at Ely, and afterwards had the direction 
of several convents. She died at Trentham and was 
buried at Hanbury in Staffordshire, from which place 
her bones were brought to Chester in 875, for greater 
security, on the advance of the Danish army to 
Repton, and were deposited in the church of SS. 
Peter and Paul. This church was removed to a site 
at the Cross, and the original edifice was turned into 
a house of secular priests. The dedication of this 
church, whose successor is the present cathedral of 
the city, was altered to that of SS. Werburgh and 

29 




The City Oswald, perhaps during the reign of Athelstan, but 
of certainly during some part of the Anglo-Saxon period ; 

Chester and as the church of St. Werburgh it was most 
commonly known. There is a church with the same 
ascription in Dublin, and knowing the close connec> 
tion which existed between that city and Chester, 
one might be tempted to imagine that the Irish 
church should be affiliated to that just mentioned. 
Mr. Hunt, however, is of opinion that the Dublin 
church is a descendant of that at Bristol, for there 
also, in another comer of Mercia, is an edifice dedi- 
cated to the Mercian saint. 

After the Mercian rule came that of Wessex, under 
which dominion Chester fell in 828, only to become 
a few years later the prey of the Danes, who held the 
city until it was reduced by a siege. Subsequently 
the boundary line of the Danelagh was drawn along 
the old Roman road, known as Watling Street, which 
runs from London to Chester. What was once 
Mercia, or rather the remnants of that once power- 
ful kingdom, was placed under the supervision of 
Aethelred, as ealdorman. This noble, who had 
married Aethelfiaed, Aelfred's sister, is somewhat 
overshadowed, in military matters, by his wife, who, 
under the name of the Lady of Mercia, is given, 
by the chroniclers, the credit of having fortified, 
after his death, many places of importance along 
the marches of her division of the country. Amongst 
these may be mentioned Warwick, Tam worth, 
Stafford, and Chester, with its supporting fortress of 
Eddisbury Castle, the earthworks of which * chamber 
of the forest,' are still to be seen in Delamere Forest. 
It was in 907 that the ruins of Chester were repaired, 
and that fortress once more manned to separate the 
Danes from the Welsh and from the Irish Channel. 
30 



It was at this time also that a house of secular canons The 

was founded, the precursor of the great abbey of Saxon 

later days. Still later in the Saxon period, Chester and 

is said to have been the scene of the triumph of Norman 

Edgar the Peaceable, and, as Bishop Creighton Periods 

remarks, ' however imaginative may be the details 

of this glorification of the great English king, the 

choice of Chester as its scene marks the importance 

of the growing town.^ It is in 973, two years after 

his coronation at Bath, that the monarch is said to 

have appeared under the walls of Chester, and to 

have held his court at a place still known as Edgar^s 

field and situated near the old bridge. Higden, the 

monk of Chester, narrates how the eight Reguli or 

tributary kings, whom Edgar had summoned to 

Chester, were compelled to row their overlord on the 

Dee. ' Edgar one day entering his barge, assumed 

the helm and made his tributaries row him from the 

palace which stood in a field which still bears his 

name, up the Dee to the church of St. John, and 

from thence back to his palace.** One more legend 

connected with the close of the Saxon period must 

be narrated before this part of the story is closed, and 

that is the tale which connects Chester with the last 

days of Saxon rule. For according to a tale told by 

Giraldus Cambrensis, and perhaps implicitly believed 

at his time, Harold was not really slain at the battle 

of Senlac, but only wounded, and subsequently became 

a hermit at Chester where he died in the odour of 

sanctity. ^Gyrald us Cambrensis,' says the Monk of 

Chester, * in his boke called Itenerarius^ wolde meane 

that Harolde had many woundes, and lost his lefte 

eye with the strooke of an arrow, and was overcome, 

and escaped to the countie of Chester, and lyved 

there holyly, as man troweth, an anker's lyfe, in 

31 




The City Saynt James' celle, fast by Saynt Jolin's chyrch, 

of and made a goede ende, and was kaowen by his lost 

Chester confessyon and the commune fame accorded in the 

cytie to that same.' That there was at that time 




and for many years afterwards, a celebrated hermitage 
on the rock overlooking the river Dee to the south of 
St. John's Church, there can be no doubt, but that 
Harold ever occupied it is merely one of those 
legends which tend to grow up around the name of 
dead heroes, even the heroes of lost causes. The 
building now on the rock, shown in the figure, is, of 
32 



course, not the original cell. Higden, it may be 
mentioned before leaving this story, also adds that 
when the death of King Harold was known to Edwin 
and Morcar, Earls of Mercia and Northumberland, 
they took Aedytha his wife and sent her to Chester. 
During the Saxon period, Chester, like some other 
towns, seems to have been the seat of a mint. It is 
true that it is not specifically mentioned amongst 
the towns to which the privilege was conceded, but 
its name appears under its Saxon guise of Legeceaster 
on various coins. As this very closely resembles, 
however, the Saxon name of Leicester, it is difficult 
always to say at which place a coin may have been 
struck. Eleven pennies of Athelstan are known, and 
several of Cnut. We may dispose of Chester as a 
local centre of coinage by adding that, in the time of 
Charles i., half-crowns, most of which bore, as mint- 
mark, a rose, were struck in the city ; and that, during 
the reign of William in., the last in which coins were 
struck at Chester, half-crowns, shillings, and sixpenny 
pieces were minted, 101,660 pounds of silver being 
used up for the purpose. 

The Saxon crosses, probably of the ninth century, 
now in St. John''s Church, described on p. 185, are 
further relics of this period of great interest and 
importance. 

Chester occupies a prominent position in connection 
with the Norman Conquest, even if we do not admit 
the truth of the legend about Harold, for it was the 
last town in England to recognise the sway of the 
Conqueror. After harrying the north, which had 
refused peaceably to submit to his rule, William 
advanced upon Chester, devastating the country as 
he passed through it. It was then the depth of 
winter, but the unhappy fugitives had to make a 

c " 33 



The 

Saxon 

and 

Norman 

Periods 




The City long journey before they could find a place of rest, 
of for it was not until they came to the great Abbey 

Chester of Evesham that they were able to secure a temporary 
place of abode. The consequences which followed 
upon the capture of Chester were identical with those 
which took place in hundreds of other instances. 
The burgh of the Saxon lord may have become the 
site of the castle of the Norman earl, and the keep 
which was the essential part of such a fortress was 
often erected upon an earlier earthen mound, perhaps 
the work of the first Norman occupant. Whether 
such a mound had been piled up on the sandstone 
cliff above the Dee, after the time of the Lady of 
Mercia, and if so what may have been its exact posi- 
tion, we cannot absolutely say, though Mr. Cox thinks 
that it occupied the spot where the flag-tower stood. 
But that the site of her fortress became that of the 
Norman castle, its successor, there can be little doubt. 
It was not the only castle erected in this important 
part of the Norman dominions, for there were others 
at Beeston; Hawarden, and Halton, with smaller 
military centres at Dodleston, Alford, Pulford, Holt, 
and Shotwick ; but it was the chief fortress, and its 
earl was the principal defender of the inland districts 
from the incursions of the wild and unconquered 
tribes of Wales. The earldom was first conferred 
by William upon one Gerbod, a Fleming, but he is 
of little importance in the history of Chester, for he 
went across the seas, was unsuccessful in war, and 
was soon superseded by the Conqueror's own nephew, 
Hugh of Avranches, better known, from his ferocious 
disposition, as Hugo Lupus, or the Wolf. He it 
was who was responsible for the reduction to order 
of Cheshire, and by him were built the fortresses 
to which allusion has just been made. By him too 

34 



the secular canons of St. Werburgh's were replaced by The 
regular clergy, and the Mercian bishopric of Lichfield Saxon 
was for a time transferred to his own city, where the and 
Church of St. John was the cathedral of the occupant Norman 
of the see. Periods 

The terms by which the earldom was granted seem 
to have conferred an almost royal dignity upon its 
holder, for he was to hold of the king ' tam libere ad 
giadium, sicut ipse Rex tenebat Angliam ad coronam,' 
as freely by the sword as the king held England by 
the crown. Matthew Paris and others considered that 
this statement was only intended to convey that the 
Earl of Chester was the hereditary sword-bearer to 
the king ; and it is pointed out that, on the marriage 
of Henry iii. with Eleanor in 1236, *the Earl of 
Chester then carried the sword of St. Edward, which 
is called Curtein (the sword of mercy), before the king 
in token that he was an Earl Palatine, and had power 
by right to restrain the king if he should do amiss, 
his constable of Chester attending him and beating 
back the people with a rod or staff when they press 
disorderly upon him.' However this may be, there 
can be no doubt that the earl did exercise many of 
the rights of a sovereign, and that within his own 
territories he was almost supreme. In the words of 
Camden — * Cheshire enjoyed all sovereign jurisdiction 
within its own precinct, and that in so high degree 
that the ancient earls had parliaments of their own 
barons and tenants, and were not obliged by the 
English Acts of Parliament. These high and other- 
wise imaccountable jurisdictions were thought necess- 
ary upon the marches and borders of the kingdom 
as investing the governors of those provinces with 
dictatorial power, and enabling them more effectually 
to subdue the common enemies of the nation.' At 

35 



r^ 



The City 

of 

Chester 



Westminster pleas ran * contra coronam et dignitatem 
regis,' but in the courts of the Palatinate it was * con- 
tra dignitatem gladii Cestriae/ The sword thus 
invoked is still in the British Museum : it has a two- 
edged blade, is about four feet long, and has on its 
hilt the inscription, ' Hugo Comes Cestriae.** Hugh 
appears to have been invested with the dignities 
belonging to his earldom in 1070, and continued to 
enjoy them not merely during the reign of the Con- 
queror but also during that of William Rufus and a 
part of that of Henry i. He seems to have died in 
1101 and was buried, as were also some of his suc- 
cessors, beneath the Chapter-House of the Abbey. 
He was succeeded by his son Richard, the only child 
of his wife Ermentrude, daughter of Hugh, Earl of 
Beauvoys in France. At the time of his father's 
death this son was only seven years of age, and became 
the ward of Henry i., who sent him to France to be 
brought up with his own children. When his edu- 
cation was completed he was married to Maude, 
daughter of Stephen, Earl of Blois, and through her 
mother Adela, a granddaughter of the Conqueror; 
but the Earl and Countess never held state in their 
city of Chester, for both were drowned, together 
with William and Richard, Henry i.'s sons, and many 
other distinguished persons, on board the ill-fated 
White Ship. The direct line of Hugo Lupus having 
thus untimely come to an end, the earldom came 
into the possession of Ranulph des Meschines. This 
nobleman had been made Earl of Carlisle, when that 
city was created an earldom by Henry i. Bishop 
Creighton in his History of Carlisle says that Ranulph 
married an heiress who possessed all the district known 
as Amoundemess — that is, the south-west corner of 
Cumberland, the south of Westmoreland, Lancashire 

36 



north of the Ribble, and a bit of Yorkshire. It was The 
an extremely extensive area, but more extensive than Saxon 
profitable, so that he exchanged it with the crown for and 
the earldom of Chester. This earl, who was appar- Norman 
ently a man of a peaceable disposition and very Periods 
generous to the Church, was succeeded by his son, also 
a Ranulph, and commonly distinguished by his sur- 
name of Gernons. During the troublous reign of 
Stephen this noble played an important part in the 
affairs of the realm. His first cause of complaint 
against the monarch was that the earldom of Carlisle, 
which he claimed as his patrimony, had been taken 
from him and conferred upon Henry, the son of David 
King of Scotland. Determined to regain this earldom, 
and moved no doubt further by the fact that his wife 
was the niece of Matilda, Gernons made up his mind 
to embrace the cause of the Empress. At the battle 
of Lincoln, the earl and his soldiers assisted in the 
defeat and capture of the king. Still later, these two 
enemies became at least outwardly reconciled to one 
another, for Ranulph went to the Court, then at 
Northampton, to ask for help against the Welsh, but 
Stephen seized the opportunity of arresting his former 
captor, who was only released under conditions. A 
turbulent career was terminated by a tragic end, for 
the earl died of poison, whilst under sentence of 
excommunication, in the year 1153. 

Men likened Ranulph Gernons, says Miss Harris, 
to Herod and Nero, saying he united the evil 
qualities — cruelty and truculence — of both these 
ancient potentates. At one time Gernons held the 
third part of England under his sway ; but, powerful 
as he was, he brought little save calamity on his 
dependants. 

He was succeeded by Hugh Cy veilioc, his son, who, 

37 




The City like most of the Earls of Chester, found plentiful 
of occupation in fighting with the Welsh. In 1170, 

Chester according to the Chronicle of St. Werburgh, he * slew 
a multitude of Welshmen near the bridge of Baldert, 
of whose heads one of the mounds at the hospital for 
the sick outside Chester is formed; the mound in 
question being one of the Boughton Hills which were 
levelled in 1657. Hugh, in his turn, was succeeded 
by his son, Ranulph in., known fix)m Whitchurch, the 
place of his birth, as Biundeville, one of the most 
distinguished of the Earls of Chester, and for fifty 
years a man of immense influence throughout the 
kingdom. So great was his fame that after his death 
tales and songs were composed in honour of his deeds, 
real or mythical — the 'rymes of Robyn Hood and 
Randolf Erie of Chester,^ familiar to the priest in 
Piers Plowman who ' can nought perfectly his pater- 
noster.** To give any account, however brief, of one 
who was the counsellor in succession of four kings, 
namely, Henry ii., Richard i., John, and Henry in., 
would occupy more space than can here be assigned. 
Like some other distinguished military leaders, he 
was small in stature, a fact which we learn from the 
traditional remark of the Earl of Perch, prior to the 
battle in which that noble and his leader. Prince 
Louis of France, were defeated at Lincoln : ' Have we 
staid all this time for such a little man, such a dwarf? ** 
In his time peace was made with the Welsh, and that 
it might be lasting, the earl married his heir-apparent 
John le Scot, to Helen, daughter of Llewelyn, Prince 
of North Wales. Having thus settled matters in his 
own district, he went to the Holy Land, in fulfilment 
of a vow made long before, took part in the capture 
of Damietta, and * returned to Chester on the mom of 
the Assumption, August 16, 1220, and was received 

38 






with the greatest veneration by the clergy as well as The 
the laity.' He returned to fresh troubles, both with Saxon 
the Welsh and with his sovereign, and dying in 1232 and 
was succeeded by his nephew, of whom mention has Norman 
just been made. It was this earl, John, the last of Periods 
the Norman earls, who carried the sword called Cur- 
tayne at the marriage of Henry iii. with Eleanor. 
Fifty years had his uncle been earl, but to the nephew 
only one-tenth of that number of years was allowed. 
Five years after he succeeded to his earldom he died, 
poisoned, as many have thought, by that very Helen 
to whom he had been married in the delusive hope 
that a permanent peace with North Wales would be 
the result of their union. Thus in 1237 the line of 
Norman earls came to an end, and the earldom was 
taken into the hands of the king. The military im- 
portance of Chester, the especial significance of which 
was intensified at a time when North Wales was ruled 
by a prince so aggressive and skilful, the danger of 
leaving such a possession in the hands of those who might 
be little friendly to himself, all these arguments no 
doubt weighed with the monarch in thus dealing with 
the earldom. Henry iii. gave the earldom to his son, 
afterwards Edward i., and from that time down to 
the present the earldom has remained, like the duke- 
dom of Cornwall, an appanage of the eldest son of 
the reigning monarch ; but with this difference between 
the two, that whilst the heir is bom Duke of Corn- 
wall, he only becomes Earl of Chester should the 
sovereign so create him. The castle and city, indeed 
the whole county of Cheshire, were, however, for a 
time in the hands of King Henry's great opponent, 
Simon de Montfort, to whom they were granted after 
the battle of Lewes. Lucas de Taney was appointed 
de Montfort's Justiciary in Chester, and by him the 

39 



The City city was held until Edward, after his victory at 

of Evesham, besieged the castle on Trinity Sunday and 

Chester compelled its defenders to surrender. 

Edward i. was frequently in Chester. It was there, 
in the church of St. Werburgh, that he took part in 
the solemn service of thanksgiving which commemor- 
ated the subjugation of Wales. Here, too, in ISOl, 
homage was paid by the freeholders of Wales to 
Prince Edward of Carnarvon, who had been created 
Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. Richard ii. 
was in Chester in 1394 on his way to Ireland, for 
which country this was one of the chief ports, the 
Dee at that time washing the walls on the western 
side, and being still deep enough for the ships of 
small tonnage then employed whether as men of war 
or as transports. The King, accompanied by a num- 
ber of noblemen, was met outside the city by its 
mayor and escorted within the walls. It was on this 
occasion that a sword of state, though not that which 
is at present in existence, was presented by the king 
to the city. On his final visit he was to be received 
in a very different manner. In 1399 he had again 
gone to Ireland, and during his operations there — 
operations of a very unsatisfactory character — Henry 
Bolingbroke, whom he had banished, returned to the 
country, and took possession of many of its most 
important fortresses and towns. Amongst others he 
secured Chester, and celebrated his entrance into the 
town by beheading Peter Legh, who had remained 
faithful to the king, in spite of the fact that he was 

\ the brother of Sir Robert Legh and John Legh who 

had been Bolingbroke^s chief agents in obtaining 
admission to the city. Northumberland was sent to 
Conway Castle, where the king was, with instructions 
to take him prisoner and bring him to Chester. It 
40 



was at Flint Castle, however, that Bolingbroke actually The 
met the king, who had been induced to come to that Saxon 
place from Conway. From Flint he was taken to and 
Chester, and there lodged either in the donjon or in the Norman 
tower over the great gateway, opposite Gloverstone. Periods 
With him were confined Salisbury, the Bishop of Car- 
lisle, and two knights. Thence he was removed to the 
Tower of London, and in that city his abdication of the 
throne took place. Henry iv. was not, however, done 
with Chester. The county, on account no doubt, in 
large measure, of the fact that the king^s writ did not 
run within its boundaries, had become a nuisance to 
its neighbours, who, it is recorded, had long de- 
nounced it *as a den of robbers from which murderers 
and cut- throats issued for nightly raids upon the 
persons and cattle of their peaceful inhabitants, 
claiming the immunities of a County Palatine to defy 
the king'*s officers of justice.** These lawless persons 
professed great attachment to the cause of Richard ii., 
who had always shown himself possessed of great 
affection for the men of Cheshire. In 1400 an attempt 
was made, but unsuccessfully, by a body of men 
adorned with the White Hart, Richard'*s cognizance, 
to take possession of the castle of Chester. Still 
later, many men of the shire joined with Henry 
Percy, who had been made Justice of North Wales 
and Constable of the castles of Chester, Flint, Con- 
way, Denbigh, and Carnarvon, when he rebelled 
against his king and became a sharer in Glyndwr'*s 
movement. The battle of Shrewsbury, in fact, was 
commenced by a furious discharge of arrows from 
the Cheshire archers, who were looked upon as being 
the finest forces under the control of the rebel leaders. 
After the battle one of the quarters of Percy's body 
was sent to be hung over the gate of Chester. Henry 

41 



r 



The City then decided to drive forth from the city all the 
of Welsh who resided in it These turbulent neigh- 

Chester hours had long inflicted injuries upon the city — in 
fact, the suburb beyond the old bridge, now known 
as Handbridge, had been so frequently sacked by 
them that it h&d acquired the name of Treboeth, or 
*the burnt town.' No doubt it was thought safer 
that all members of a race from which the city had 
suffered so much should be excluded from its interior 
and live outside, as was the case at Shrewsbury, where 
the Welsh town of Frankwell was on the opposite 
side of the river from the town proper, and approached 
by the well-protected Welsh Bridge. Accordingly 
we find Henry, Prince of Wales, issuing directions to 
the mayor, sheriffs, and aldermen of Chester that 
they shall * cause to be driven without the walls of 
the city aforesaid all manner of Welshmen of either 
sex, male as well as female ; in such sort that they 
may be thoroughly driven forth of the said city, and 
that no Welshman, or any person of Welsh extrac- 
tion or sympathies, of whatsoever state or condition, 
remain within the walls of the said city, or enter in 
to the same before sunrise on any day on any excuse, 
or tarry in the same after sunset, under pain of 
decapitation, and on no day whatsoever journey 
or presume to enter the said city with arms upon 
him, under pain of forfeiture of the said arms, saving 
only a knife for cutting his dinner. And that they 
enter into no wine or beer tavern in the same city, 
and that they hold no meetings or assemblies in the 
same, and that three of the same Welshmen meet not 
together within the walls aforesaid ; which thing if 
they do, they shall be forthwith taken for rebels 
against the peace, and be committed to our gaol of 
the city aforesaid, there to remain until we take 
42 



order about their liberation."* No evidence could be The 
more eloquent than these stringent regulations of Saxon 
the fear which the Welsh insurgents had inspired in and 
the breasts of those responsible for the safety of Norman 
Chester and the district of which it was the military Periods 
centre. As the danger from the Welsh passed 
gradually away, these regulations were relaxed or 
fell into abeyance, members of that race coming back 
to the city towards the end of the reign of Henry v., 
and attaining in some cases to positions of dignity 
and importance therein. After this time, the civic 
annals tell of constant riots and disturbances on the 
part of the more lawless inhabitants of the city and 
county until, in 1434, Henry vi. issued a commission 
to the chamberlain and vice - chamberlain of the 
county of Chester with the object of inducing the 
inhabitants to unite in putting a stop to these un- 
seemly occurrences. The commission does not, how- 
ever, appear to have been very successful, for Canon 
Morris states that in 1452 the lawlessness was so 
daring, that several men employed by Adam Lokkes, 
the locksmith, carried away ten stones from the city 
walls, a theft the possibility of which shows not only 
the laxity of vigilance, but that the walls must at 
that time have been in a very ruinous condition. An 
outlet for the fighting blood of the district was 
shortly afterwards found at the battle of Blore Heath, 
where the Earl of Salisbury defeated Queen Margaret's 
army, containing many Cheshire men in its ranks, and 
led by Lord Audley. After the battle two of Salis- 
bury's sons, Sir John and Sir Thomas Neville, who 
had been seriously wounded, were brought into Chester 
and confined in the castle. 

During the period of the Wars of the Roses, the 
inhabitants of Chester seem to have been con- 

43 



^ 



The City stantly engaged in strife with those of neighbouring 
of places, and Canon Morris cites from Pennant an 

Chester account of one such feud, which may serve as an 
example of the state of affairs which prevailed at the 
time. Tower, near Mold, during the Wars of the 
Roses, was, he tells us, inhabited by Reinallt ap 
GryfFyd ap Bleyddyn, one of the six gallant captains 
who defended Harlech Castle on the part of Henry vi. 
Reinallt and his people were in continual feud with 
the citizens of Chester. In 1465 a considerable num- 
ber of the latter came to Mold fair, when a fray 
ensued between the two parties. A dreadful slaughter 
took place on both sides ; but Reinallt obtained the 
victory. He took prisoner Robert Bryne, linen- 
draper and Mayor of Chester in 1461, whom he led 
to his tower and hung on the staple in his great hall. 
An attempt was made afterwards to seize Reinallt, 
and two hundred tall men sallied from Chester for 
that purpose. He retired from his house to a neigh- 
bouring wood, permitted part of his enemies to enter 
the building, then rushing from his cover fastened 
the door, and, setting fire to the place, burned them 
without mercy ; he then attacked the rest and pur- 
sued them to the seaside, where those who escaped 
the sword perished in the Channel. Still later, 
Reinallt, instigated by a local bard, named Lewis 
Glyn Cothi, made a further onslaught on the Ces- 
trians, for we are told that * Reinallt, being ripe for 
the enterprise, collected his people, went to Chester, 
and put the citizens, as many as fell into his hands, 
to the sword.** 

A characteristically picturesque and inaccurate 
account of these occurrences is given by Borrow in 
his Wild Wales. 

Cheshire men took a large part in the battle of 

44 



Ik 



Bosworth Field, for at that conflict Sir John Savage, The 
son of Sir John Savage of Clifton, and Mayor of Saxon 
Chester, had charge of the left wing. Henry made and 
him a Knight of the Garter — it was a time when Norman 
merit did sometimes secure that decoration — and in Periods 
his letters-patent compliments him upon the services 
which he rendered * in conjunction with the copious 
multitude of his brothers, kinsmen, servants and 
friends, at great cost and personal risk in the battle 
against King Richard.** In 1498 Prince Arthur came 
to Chester, where he remained for more than a month, 
and had presented before him the Mystery Play of 
the Assumption, which was performed before the 
Abbey gateway. He gave to the Company of Smiths 
of the city the silver medal which they still possess. 
The gift is recorded in the books of the company as 
follows: — 'Thomas Edyan, smith to Prince Arthur, 
being atte the Castle of Chester on the 14th yeare of 
the reigne of Henrie the Seventh, his father then 
beinge King of England. And att the same tyme. 
Prince Arthur gave unto the sayd Edyan a crown of 
silver guilt, a hammer with horseshoe and pincers, 
the arms of smiths, to them and theire successors for 
ever.' During the reign of the same sovereign the 
great charter of Chester was granted, a point which 
will receive further consideration in another chapter. 
About this time, too, those privileges which had 
belonged to Cheshire as a County Palatine, which 
had distinguished it from most other English counties, 
and which had helped to make it so troublesome to 
its neighbours, began to be withdrawn. Cheshire 
was no longer an outpost position, and there was no 
reason why it should be dealt with exceptionally, 
rather every reason to the contrary. Henry viii. 
ordered that Justices of the Peace should be appointed 

45 




The City in Chester and in Wales, as in other parts of the 
of kingdom. The preamble of the Act, which was 

Chester passed in 1535, expressly states that justice had not 
in the past been equally dealt in the county of 
Chester. Up to this time the county, again on 
account of its peculiar legal position, had sent no 
representatives to the Parliament of the realm, its 
earls having, as has been pointed out, a kind of small 
parliament of their own. But five years after the 
Act just alluded to, this anomaly also disappeared, 
and representatives were called up — two knights 
representing the shire, and two burgesses the city. 

Such a change was one of first-class importance to 
the city and to the County Palatine of which it was 
the capital. Up to this time Chester and the district 
around it may almost have been looked upon as a 
separate sovereign state, of limited independence it 
is true, and owing suit and service to its suzerain, 
the King of England, but in other respects a distinct 
and independent area, making its own laws and sub- 
ject to its own customs. One may almost compare 
it to the Isle of Man as it exists at the present day, 
with its House of Keys, in a word with Home Rule. 
Such a state of affairs may be quite conceivable in 
the case of a small detached island and in these times 
of peace, but it is not one which could long continue 
in a district separated from its neighbours by merely 
artificial boundaries, as was the case with the County 
Palatine. It is obvious that such an imperium in 
imperio could not continue after the causes which 
had led to its being set up became no longer opera- 
tive. Hence the changes just alluded to had for 
their object the incorporation of the county into the 
general body of the kingdom. 

Thus we arrive at a very definite stage in the 

46 



history of the city, a turning-point in its career, the The 
moment at which it sheds its old-time privileges to Saxon 
merge its life more fully in. that of the nation; at and 
a period of history, too, when ancient landmarks were Norman 
heing removed, a new religion taking the place of Periods 
the old, monasteries disappearing and cathedral es- 
tablishments in some places arising on their founda- 
tions. Of these changes it will be necessary to speak 
separately and in connection with their bearing upon 
the ecclesiastical and civic life of the citv. 




rs 




CHESTER CATHEDRAL Jf'-'^ME- 



CHAPTER III 



CHESrEE UNDEH I.ATEa SOVJSBEIGNS 

AS already men- 
tioned, the 
most important 
events, otiier than 
those civic chances 
alluded to in the 
last chapter, which 
occurred during 
the reigns of Henry 
vni., his son, and 
his eldest daughter, 
were related to the 
change of religion 
then taking place, 
and will be dealt 
with intheir proper 
place in connec- 
tion with the eccle- 
siastical history of the city. It will be convenient, 
however, to mention two events which are asso- 
ciated with the reign of Queen Mary. The first of 
these is the burning of George Marsh on the S5th 
irf April 1665. He was a Protestant minister, 
B 49 




The City who was tried in the Lady Chapel of the cathedral 

of on the charge of heretical and blasphemous preach- 

Chester ing against the Pope's authority and the Church of 

Rome. He was burnt at the Spital, Boughton, 

'constantly enduring his martyrdom with such 

patience as was wonderful,' says the Cowper mss. 

Another occurrence attributed to this reign is 
narrated in all histories of Chester, and must not 
be here omitted, although the evidence for it is 
perhaps not of the strongest. In 1588 the Dean 
of St. PauPs, London, was one Dr. Henry Cole, who 
appears to have belonged to the honourable order of 
Vicars of Bray. He fell in with all the diverse views 
of Henry viii. on religious subjects, he was a zealous 
promoter of the Reformation during the times of 
Edward vi., and under Mary he disputed against 
Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, and preached the 
sermon at the burning of the first of these persons. 
The story in question is associated with this indi- 
vidual, and may be given in the words of Canon 
Morris. Cole was sent by Queen Mary with a 
special commission to the Privy Council of Ireland, 
for the suppression of heresy. He stopped one night 
on his way at the * Blue Posts,' Chester, on the east 
side of Bridge Street, then kept by a Mrs. Elizabeth 
Mottershead. The mayor called upon Dr. Cole, who, 
in explaining his errand, brought out of his cloaks 
bag a leathern box, saying, * Here is what will lash 
the heretics of Ireland.' The landlady overhearing 
this and fearing for the safety of her brother, John 
Edmunds, who lived in Dublin, took the opportunity, 
while Dr. Cole was conducting the mayor downstairs, 
to remove the warrant from the box, placing in its 
stead a package of similar bulk and weight. Dr. 
Cole on reaching Dublin (7th October 1588) delivered 
SO 




the box to the Lord Deputy, Lord Fitzwalter, at the Chester 
Castle, Great was the consternation of the Council under 
to find that the box contained only a pack of cards, later 
with the knave of clubs uppermost. The Lord Sove- 
Deputy said, * Let us have another commission, and reigns 
we will meanwhile shuffle the cards." The cards were 
indeed * shuffled.' For though Dr. Cole was immedi- 
ately sent to England and obtained a new commis- 
sion, while staying for a wind at the waterside he 
received intelligence that Queen Mary was dead and 
was succeeded by the ^Protestant Queen.** The 
landlady was rewarded for her ingenuity and zeal 
with a pension of £4iO a year. Though the * Blue 
Posts' has long been divided into shops, the card- 
room, an oak-panelled apartment with fine ceiling, 
still remains untouched. 

During the reign of Elizabeth, Protestant opinions 

being in the ascendant, the other side had their turn 

of persecution. The city was, as Canon Morris 

points out, strongly Protestant, and as such was in 

complete harmony with the Chamberlain of Chester, 

Lord Leicester, who posed as the champion of that 

form of belief. Many prosecutions took place against 

so-called recusants, a state of afiairs which continued 

with at least equal severity during the succeeding 

reign. All symbols associated with Catholicity were 

destroyed, and in 1577 it is stated that * most of the 

crosses of and about Chester were pulled downe except 

the High Crosse.' A sheriff of the name of Mutton 

appears to have been the person largely responsible 

for these operations, * a godly zealous man, who not 

long before his death pulled down certain crosses by 

a commission from the archbishop'^s visitors : one at 

the Bars, another at the Northgate, and another on 

this side Spital, Bough ton, which so offended the 

51 




The City 

of 

Chester 



Sapists that they ascribed to it the cause of his 
eath.' 

The fact that Chester was a seaport of import- 
ance made the authorities regard it as a likely 
spot for the introduction of priests from foreign 
colleges, who were, as we know, brought into the 
kingdom in considerable numbers to minister to 
their persecuted co-religionists, and in many cases 
paid for their performance of their duties with their 
life. Hence we find a commission issued, 1587, by 
Elizabeth to the Bishop, Mayor, Aldermen, and Dean 
of Chester, * about panaling a jury to enquire about 
seminary priestes come to England, and Jesuites of 
malicious purpose to seduce divers of our people from 
ther dutys to God and to us, and to renounce their 
allegiance and to adhere to the King of Spayne and 
to the Pope, whensoever they shall attempt any 
invasion agaynst our realme/ They are cfirected 
'to try search and examyne, within the Citty of 
Chester and all parts thereof, what persons have 
come from beyond the seas into England since the 
Feast of Michaelmas.^ Care was also taken that 
Catholic young men should not be removed from 
the kingdom for the purpose of obtaining abroad 
that instruction in their religion which was refused 
to them at home. In 1594 mention is made of 
* several youths who were imder the charge of one 
Bartholomew Wickam, who had purpose to trans- 
port themselves beyond seas to places of popish 
religion.' 

Passing from this aspect of the reign with which 
we are now concerned, we find Chester's value as a 
port exemplified by the large number of soldiers who 
were thence despatched to the various wars by which 
Ireland was ravaged. From 1573 to the end of the 

52 



century we meet with constant accounts of the Chester 
passage of soldiers through the city on their way under 
to the sister island, and of the trouble which these later 
bands caused to the inhabitants and especially to Sove- 
the mayor. That functionary had no sinecure whilst reigns 
his city was being used as the port of departure by 
the Elizabethan regiments. 

The expedition of 1573 was conducted by Walter 
Devereux, Earl of Essex, and intended for the settle- 
ment of the North of Ireland. Half the expense of 
this expedition was borne by the Queen, but, never- 
theless, its unfortunate leader was entirely ruined by 
it. During succeeding years there was an unceasing 
stream of soldiers passing through the city, for whose 
lodging and victualling as well as for their good 
conduct and safe despatch from English shores, the 
mayor for the time being had to be responsible. 
The following draft of a letter from the mayor to 
Lord Burghley, printed in the Cheshire Sheafs will 
give a good idea of the kind of correspondence which 
sudi duties entailed. * Right Ho: My humble Dutie 
vnto yoV lo: moste humblie remembred. May it 
please the same to be remembred, That lyke as before 
I adu'tized yoV ho: of the Arryvall heere of 900 
souldiers, p'^cell of the 1000 men appoynted hither 
for Ireland by yoV Ho': dyrection, and of the 
Dep'ture hence over into Ireland of 600 of them, and 
that 300 out of the Welsh shieres, pVell of the 
nomber of 400 thence appoynted, vnaer the Con- 
ducc'on of Captaine Skip with, were here ready alsoe; 
and that the Captaine, because the 100 men levyed 
in the County of Cam Von were not then Come, 
would not send away the rest. Soe doe I nowe 
adu'tyze yoV Lo: that the said 100 out of CarnVon- 
shere are latelie come hither; who, with the other 

S3 



The City 300 men, in all 400, are as yet remaining heere vnder 
of the Conduction of the said Captaine for want of 

Chester Wynde, to her Ma'ts great Charge. Albeit, yf the 
Captaine would haue bene p'swaded by me, the said 
300 men had bene in Ireland with the reste, but I 
Could not prevayle w'*th him therein. The Charges 
in Dyet by Sea and Land of the said 1000 men is 
great, and freight for their transportation alsoe is 
expected; wherefore I humblie beseche yo''r ho: to 
vouchsafe to geue speedy dyrection, that some im- 

Srest of money may be hither sent towards the 
iffraying of the said Charges ; and that yf it might 
stand w'th yo'^r Lo: good pleasure, that the same 
might be had for more readynes out of her Ma'ts 
treasure now come hither for Ireland. Thus praying 
god to preserve yo'r lo: to Whose blessed tuic'^on 
Doe the same most humblie Comitt. Yor lo: most 
bounden.** 

From another of the documents of the period we 
catch a glimpse of Liverpool commencing to share 
with Chester that fame as a port which in later years 
it has entirely monopolised. This document, the 
body of which it is unnecessary to quote, is headed : 
' Instructions given to James Ware, gent., being sent 
Downe to the Portes of Chester and Liverpool to 
provyde and set the Shippinge of Cth horse and vj 
Cth foote that are appoynted to be embarqued at 
that porte.** The soldiers were turbulent and difficult 
to manage; their state of discipline was not high; and, 
in order to protect the townsfolk from their strifes, 
the mayors had from time to time to take strong 
measures. Thus the mayoralty of Foulk Aldersey, 
1594, was *full of troubles, for here was manye 
souldiers, about 1500, who dailly fought and quar- 
relled that the cittyzens were often raysed ; especially 

54 




at once beinge all up upon uproare from the Eastgate 
to the Barres, the Mayor, like a worthye stowte man, 
appeased by proclamation the tumulte and soughte 
oute the originall quarellers and sent them to prison, 
and caused a gibet to be sett up at the Hie Crosse 
for to execute marshall lawe and three souldiers to be 
brougte in sighte of all the reste of theire fellowes, 
and one had a halter upon the lathes aboute his 
necke, and by entreatye of capteyn and other gentle- 
men they were saved.** 

In the reign of James, as already mentioned, the 
hunting down of recusants was prosecuted with great 
activity, particularly by three men of the name of 
Glasier, who occupied positions of importance in 
connection with the city, one having been mayor and 
another vice-chamberlain. James visited Chester in 
1617, on his way home from Edinburgh, and was 
received with ceremony. ' After a learned speech 
delivered by the Recorder Edward Whitby, the 
Mayor Charles Fitton presented to the King a fair 
standing cup with a cover, double gilt, and therein 
an hundred jacobins of gold ; and likewise the Mayor 
delivered the city's sword to the King, who gave it to 
the Mayor again. And the same was borne before 
the King by the Mayor, being on horseback. The 
sword of state was borne by the right honourable 
William, Earl of Derby, Chamberlain of the County 
Palatine of Chester. The King rode first to the 
Minster, where he alighted from his horse, and in the 
west aisle of the church he heard an oration delivered 
in Latin by a scholar of the free school ; after which 
he went into the choir. And there in a seat made 
for the King, in the higher end of the choir, he heard 
an anthem sung. After certain prayers, the King 
went from thence to the Pentice, where a sumptuous 

55 



Chester 
imder 
later 
Sove- 
reigns 




The City banquet was prepared at the City^s cost, which being 
of ended, the King departed to the Vale Royal. At 

Chester his departure the order of knighthood was offered to 
Mr. Mayor, but he refused the same.^ 

The reign of Charles i. was full of stir for the city. 
The first event of importance to be mentioned was 
the passage through of Prynne, who had just been 
before the Star Chamber, where he had been sentenced 
to a fine of ^6^5000, to be expelled from his University, 
from Lincoln's Inn and from the law, and to stand 
twice in the pillory, losing an ear on each occasion. 
In 1637 he passed through Chester on his way to 
Carnarvon Castle, where he was to be imprisoned for 
life. Tlie occasion was taken by many, who shared 
his political views, to meet him and show their 
sympathy with him and the cause which he repre- 
sented. A severe punishment awaited some of these 
sympathisers. Ormerod says that 'he was met on 
his approach to Chester by numbers of the puritanical 
faction wlio expressed the greatest veneration for him, 
and so conducted themselves as to incur the marked 
displeasure of the government. Some were fined 
£500, some <£»S00, and others £^50. Mr. Peter 
Ince, a stationer and one of the offenders, made a 
public recantation before the bishop in the Cathedral, 
as did Calvin Bruen, of Stapleford, in the town hall. 
Two of the others, Mr. Peter Lee, and Mr. Richard 
Golborne, suffered their bonds of ^6^00 each to be 
estreated into the exchequer, rather than perform the 
conditions. In the following year four portraits of 
Prynne, painted in Chester, were burnt at the High 
Cross in presence of the magistracy.** The great 
event however of this reign was the Civil War, and 
in that conflict Chester played a large part. So far 
as the city was concerned the first events in connec- 

56 ' 



K 



tion with the struggle took place a fortnight before Chester 
Charles unfurled his standard at Nottingham, when Sir under 
William Brereton, who lived at Nun'*s Hall, near the later 
castle, an active politician, who had twice represented Sove- 
the county in Parliament, started recruiting in the reigns 
city for the Parliamentary side, with trumpet and 
drum. The alarm-bell was ining and the mayor, 
after a struggle, put a stop to the proceedings. In 
the same year, 1642, the king himself visited Chester, 
having sent before him, from Stafford, where his 
court was then stationed, a letter ordering the civic 
authorities to prepare for his coming and to meet 
him on his arrival at the city. On the 28rd of 
September he made his entry, and at once issued 
instructions to the mayor and aldermen *to search 
the seuerall Houses of SV William Brereton, Baronett, 
William Edwards, Alderman, and Thomas Aldcrsey, 
Alderman, the Red Lyon and the Golden Lyon, 
scituate in Our sayd Citty, Wherein you or euery of 
you shall suspect to bee any Armes or Amunition 
intended to be vsed against vs, or against any Our 
louing subjects : And all such Armes and Amunition 
that you or euery of you shall find vpon yoV sayd 
search to seize and take into yoV Custodies for the 
vse of vs, to be disposed of as Wee shall appoint.** 
Five days later the king took his leave, having 
received a present of two hundred pounds, with 
another hundred for the Prince of Wales. On his 
departure steps were taken to put the fortifications 
of the city into a state of preparation to resist the 
attack which was threatened. Batteries were erected 
which extended from the city walls, near Pemberton's 
Parlour, to Stone Bridge, and from thence to Flookers- 
brook, where the railway station now stands, and 
across to Boughton, reaching the river at Boughton 

57 



/^ 



The City Fords. Sir Nicholas Byron had been appointed 
of governor and col on el -general, and a force of three 

Chester 




hundred citizens was enrolled, armed, and trained at 
the expense of the city. Sir William Brereton 
appeared before the outworks which had been raised, 
on July 16th, 1643, but being repulsed with con- 
siderable loss, withdrew to Hawarden. This castle, 
whose modem neighbour was afterwards to become 

58 



well known as the home of Mr. Gladstone, was already Chester 
occupied by Parliamentarian troops, and from its under 
position was able to be a source of considerable in- later 
convenience to Chester by stopping the supply of Sove- 
coals and provisions from that district. It was, reigns 
however, shortly afterwards reduced by soldiers 
coming from Ireland, assisted by the train-bands of 
Chester, and was subsequently held by the Royalists. 
The important position of Beeston Castle met a 
similar fate, so that two of the most powerful fort- 
resses in the vicinity of Chester were now in the 
hands of those friendly to the king. In 1644 Lord 
Byron succeeded in obtaining the surrender of North- 
wich, which had been the headquarters of Brereton 
and the Parliamentary forces; but he failed in a 
similar attempt upon Nantwich, which remained the 
only place in the neighbourhood in the hands of the 
rebels. After a vain attempt to seize Nantwich, 
Byron retired to Chester, being closely followed by 
Brereton and his soldiers. Prince Rupert, and after 
him Prince Maurice, appeared in Chester, and the 
latter ordered that a Protestation declaring * that the 
Earl of Essex, Sir William Brereton, and Sir Thomas 
Middleton, and all their party and adherents, are in 
actual rebellion against the King,' and promising to 
aid the king's cause, should be taken by all the in- 
habitants of the city. It ended with the statement, 
* And I do likewise, from niy soul, abhor the taking 
of the damnable and late-invented covenant, commonly 
called the national covenant, impressed by the rebels 
upon many of his Majesty's subjects : And to all this 
I have protested, I call God to witness, believing I 
cannot be absolved by any power, mental reservation, 
or equivocation, from this my vow and protestation.' 
On the 19th of September 1644, Colonel Jones and 

59 




\ 



The City Adjutant-General Louthian, who had failed in their 
of attempt to reduce Beeston Castle, made a sudden 

Chester attack upon Chester, which was so far successful that 
parts of the city outside the walls, including the 
mayor'*s house, were seized, and the city sword and 
mace were captured and sent up as trophies to 
Speaker Lenthall. The citizens, now shut up within 
their walls, were reduced to great straits, and much 
correspondence passed between besiegers and besieged 
with respect to capitulation. 

After a time the generals who had been conducting 
the siege were called elsewhere, and the command was 
taken up by Sir William Brereton, who proceeded 
to hem the city in on every side. In the next year, 
after the fatal battle of Naseby, the king made his 
way to Chirk and thence proceeded to attempt the 
relief of Chester. Sir Marmaduke Langdale, the 
commander of the Royalist horse, crossed the Dee at 
Holt, entering Cheshire apparently with the idea of 
attacking the besiegers in the rear. At the same 
time Charles made his way to Chester, entering it by 
the old bridge over the Dee. He was received with 
every sign of affection and was quartered at the 
house of Sir Francis GamuU, in Lower Bridge Street. 
Unless one considers that the Parliamentary leaders 
deliberately permitted the king to enter the city for 
their own purposes, it seems difficult to understand 
how, invested as the city was, it would have been 
possible for him to have got within the walls save 
after a hotly contested battle. On the 24th September 
was fought the battle of Rowton Moor, at which the 
Royalist forces were completely defeated. The king 
watched the progress of the conflict partly from the 
tower of the cathedral, but chiefly from the Phoenix 
Tower, which stands at the north-east corner of the 
60 



walls and from this event is sometimes called King Chester 
Charles's Tower. On the next day, after having agreed under . 

later 
Sove- 
reigiu 




with Lord Byron ' that if after ten days, they saw 
no reasonable prospect of relief, they were to treat 
for their own preservation,' the king, with a body- 
guard of five hundred troops, retired once more over 



The City the Dee Bridge into North Wales. In the days 
of following his departure further fierce attempts were 

Chester m^-de by the besiegers to carry the city by assault, 
but the gallant garrison repulsed each effort. It 
was not until the end of January in the next year 
that the garrison, who had been by this time reduced 
to the greatest straits and were living upon horses, 
dogs, and such other animals as were to be found 
within the walls, approached the besiegers with a 
view to capitulation. After six days' negotiations, 
Articles of Surrender were agreed upon, though the 
mayor, Charles Walley, and Sir Francis GamuU 
with four companions dissented from them. The 
ten days agreed upon with the king had expanded 
themselves into eighteen weeks, before the garrison 
surrendered, and then their capitulation was permitted 
upon most honourable terms. After the reduction 
of the city the High Cross, which had so far been 
spared, seems to have been destroyed by the Parlia- 
mentarians. There is amongst the Harleian ms, a 
rough figure of this cross by Handle Holme, which 
shows it to have been surmounted by a large head, 
consisting of a lower row of figures in niches, with 
a second row of smaller figures above. On the top 
was an orb surmounted by a cross. The upper 
portion of this cross is now in the Grosvenor Museum. 
It is obvious that a siege so protracted and accom- 
panied by so many fierce assaults could not have 
taken place without much destruction of buildings 
and property. A list of the principal losses, drawn 
up by Randle Holme, is extant, and concludes with 
the following passage: *The drawing dry of the 
cittie'^s stocks, plate, rentes, and collections, not 
knowne, all which losses, charges and demolishments, 
in opinion of most, will amount to two hundred 
62 



thousand pounds att the least, so farr hath the God Chester 
of heaven humbled this famous eittie, and note here, under 
that if Jerusalem, the particular beloved cittie of later 
God, of which it is said in sacred writ, " mark well Sove- 
her bulwarks, and count her towers,"' in man^s judge- reigns 
ment invincible; yet her sinne provoked God soe, 
that he leaved not a stone upon another ; this may 
be an advertisement to us, that God's mercy is yett 
to be found, since he hath left us soe many streets, 
lanes, and churches, yet unmolested. God grant us 
faith, patience, and true repentance and amendment, 
that a worse danger befall us not. — Amen.' Neither 
is it surprising that the plague, which had befoix* 
visited the city, should once more have made its 
appearance. It was in 1648 that this took place, 
when we are told that *the plague broke out in 
Chester and raged so violently that upwards of two 
thousand persons died of it, and that the City became 
so deserted that grass grew in the streets at the High 
Cross.' After the downfall of the king's cause a 
further * Ingagement,' the effect of which was that 
he wTio took it pledged himself 'to serve the 
Commonwealth without King or Lords,' was ordered 
to be administered to the inhabitants. According 
to a letter still preserved in the Domeatk State 
Papers^ from John Bradshaw, the regicide, then 
Chief Justice of Chester,^ to Sergeant Bradshaw, 
President of the Council of State, this * Ingagemcnt ' 
was not very popular; in fact, the writer states, *(to 
give yo'r Lor'pp the whole truth, which is my duty) 
not one Justice of the Peace within the Citty— Mayor, 
Recorder, or other excepte Mr. Aldersey and myselfe, 
have either taken the Ingagement, or given Coun- 
tenance to them that have or woulde.' ITie reason 

* See p, 254. 

63 



# 



The City for this non-compliance with the orders of Parliament, 
of which is not that which would naturally suggest 

Chester itself, is given in the same letter. ^The reason, I 
conceive, of the People's backwardness heere is cheifely 
the frequent deterringe arguments from Pulpitts, 
whence the rifircrid Presbyterians shake the unstable 
myndesof menrsettinge the Ingagement directly in 
opposition to the Covenant, chargeing Covenant- 
breaking and Perjury upon all that have subscribed, 
to the reall scandall of many ; labouringe to render 
them odious to the people, and yet all is wooven so 
cunningly, as the thread appears not wherewith to 
bind up such zealots.** From which it appears that 
the designers of the Covenant were being hoist with 
their own petard. In 1651 a Council of War 
assembled for the purpose of trying prisoners who 
were charged under the Act of Parliament which 
made it treason to correspond with Charles Stuart 
or his party. This Court, which was presided over 
by Colonel Mackworth, condemned to death the 
Earl of Derby, Sir Timothy Featherstonehaugh, and 
Captain John Benbow. The first of these made a 
bold attempt to escape from Chester Castle, but it 
was unfortunately unsuccessful, and the earl was 
taken from Stanley Palace (see p. 245) to Bolton where 
he was executed. Sir Timothy met his death in the 
market-place of Chester at the hands of the public 
executioner. After the Restoration an address was 
presented to Charles ii., in which the civic authorities 
plume themselves on * having never tempo(r)ized w'th 
any irregular power, by any Addresse made to them : 
since ye death of your most Royall Father, and our 
most gratious Soveraigne of Glorious memory.' 
During this reign James, Duke of Monmouth, the 
natural son of the king, visited Chester, according 

64 




to the Cowper ms. : * Greatly aflf'ecting popularity, and 
giving countenance to riotous assemblies and tumult- 
uous mobs, whose violence was such as to pelt with 
stones the windows of several gentlemen's houses in 
the City and likewise to damage the same. They 
likewise furiously forced the doors of the Cathedral 
church, and destroyed most of the painted glass, 
burst open the little vestries and cupboards wlierein 
were the surplices and hoods belonging to the clergy, 
which they rent to rags and carried away ; they beat 
to pieces the baptismal font, pulled down some 
monuments, attempted to demolish the organ, and 
committed other enormous outrages. . . . On Thursday 
the twenty- fifth of the same month (August) the 
Duke went to the horse-races at Wallasey in Wirral, 
which meeting served as a rendezvous for his friends 
in this part of the kingdom, a junto of whom sat in 
consultation in the summer-house at Bidston, where 
was concerted that insurrection which was afterwards 
attended with such fatal consequences.' It is also 
related that the duke was his own jockey at the 
Wallasey races, that he won the plate, and the same 
evening presented it to the Mayor of Chester for his 
infant daughter, whose godfather he had become on 
the previous day. 

James ii., in the course of a progress through the 
kingdom, visited Chester in 1687, and was enter- 
tained by the civic authorities at the Pentice. From 
the Cowper ms. we learn that * His Majesty lodged 
at the Bishop's palace, from whence next morning he 
walked through the city to the Castle (the mayor 
bareheaded carrying the sword before him), and heard 
Mass in the Shire-Hall. On Monday he went to 
Holywell, and on Tuesday returned to Chester, and 
the day following closetted several gentlemen, both 
E 6S 



Chester 
under 
later 
Sove- 
reigns 



n 



The City 

of 

Chester 



of the city and county, in order to prevail upon them 
to approve of the repeal of the penal laws and test- 
act, but met with very little encouragement in that 
aftair. On Tliursday, Sept. 1st, the King left, not 
much satisfied with the disposition of the people/ 
Amongst the important inhabitants of the city 
' closetted "* by the king was the Rev. Matthew Henry ,^ 
then a minister at one of the chapels. The king 
privately proposed to him that he should nominate 
' safe' men as members of the city council and of the 
magistracy, but this offer was declined. An account 
of the interview, in Henry'*s own handwriting, is still 
to be seen in the books of the chapel. Three years 
later, the man who had meanwhile dispossessed James 
of his tlirone also visited Chester on his way to Ire- 
land. William iii. made his way from Corabermere 
by Peel Hall, and arrived in the city on Sunday 
morning, the 4th of June. He went immediately to 
the cathedral, where he was seated on the episcopal 
throne, and heard divine service and a sermon preached 
by Dr. Stratford, then bishop of the diocese. From 
thence he went to Gay ton Hall, in Wirral, and so to 
Ireland. 

Chester was used as a place of imprisonment for 
some of those made captives during ' the '15,' though 
the insurrection itself did not touch the city. The 
Cowper MS., from which I have already drawn so 
largely, states that ' this winter Lord Charles Murray 
(son to the Duke of Athol), with several gentlemen, 
and a great number of private men, who had been 
taken (Nov. IS) in the rebellion at Preston, were 
brought prisoners to Chester Castle. The weather 
was very severe, and the snow lay a yard deep in the 
roads. Many of the above-mentioned prisoners died 

^ See p. 258. 

66 




in the Castle by the severity of the season, many were Chester 
carried off by a very malignant fever, and most of the under 
survivors were transported to the plantations in later 
America."* During * the '45 ' Chester fully expected Sove- 
to have once more to defend itself against a besieging reigns 
foe. When it was known that Prince Charles's army 
had reached Manchester, great preparations were 
made in the city. The Watergate, the Northgate, 
and the Sally- Port were all walled up, in order to 
lessen the danger of an attack, and some of the 
buildings exterior to, but abutting upon the wall, 
which might have afforded protection to an enemy, 
were pulled down. Stores and ammunition were taken 
in, and the city in every way made ready for the 
attack which never came. The invading forces passed 
through part of the county and through the neigh- 
bouring county of Stafford, but never came near the 
city. Once more, however, it served as a place of 
imprisonment; for, after the surrender of Carlisle, 
sixteen cart-loads of captives were brought to Chester 
and immured in the castle, which they completely 
filled. 

In 1782 the fear of foreign enemies led to the 
enrolment of a body of volunteers, at the call of the 
then mayor, Mr. Pattison Ellames. A number of 
extracts from the order-book of this corps have been 
published in the Cheshire Sheafs from which it appears 
that there were 54 volunteers present and voting at a 
parade, when it was arranged to arm the corps with 
muskets made by a local manufacturer rather than 
with the Tower weapon. The cross-belts and car touch - 
boxes were obtained from Birmingham. Much of the 
correspondence which has been published deals with 
the delays made by the War Office in responding to 
what appear to have been perfectly reasonable requests 

67 




The City on the part of those responsible for the affairs of the 
of corps. In 1803 there was a further enrolment of 

Chester volunteers. According to Hemingway'^s History of 
Chester^ on the occasion of the public meeting called 
for this purpose, 'the hall was filled to excess, all 
ranks pressing forward to place themselves amongst 
the defenders of their country ; and in the course of 
a few days the Chester Volunteers numbered upwards 
of 1300 effective men, who daily subjected themselves 
to a regular course of drill.' It does not appear that 
either of these bodies of volunteers ever took part in 
any kind of service ; but another body, this time of 
cavalry, which went by the name of the ' Ancient 
Britons,' and contained many Chester men amongst 
its ranks, was raised in 1797 and sent to Ireland. 
One of the historians of Chester says that they ' did 
good service ' there ; but Irish historians have taken 
another, and perhaps less incorrect, view of their 
operations in that distressful country. From the 
sister island emanated the last attempt upon Chester 
to be commemorated in this chapter, and that no 
further back than 1867. At that time the Fenian 
conspiracy had assumed considerable dimensions, and 
there are said to have been no less than between four 
and five thousand Irishmen in Chester cognisant with 
and subscribing to the movement. The castle con- 
tained thirty thousand stand of arms and a million 
rounds of ball-cartridge. In addition to this, one 
thousand rifles belonging to the volunteers were kept 
in a building called the Old Cockpit. The latter were 
quite unprotected ; the former were guarded only by 
fifty soldiers. The scheme was to seize the castle 
and arms, and one Captain John M'Cafferty was the 
director of the movement. The inevitable informant, 
however, in the person of a man named Corydon, 
68 



appeared upon tlie scene ; and when the conspirators Chester 

arrived they found the castle and its arms in pos- under 

session of the volunteers. l"hus ended the last later 

attempt to let slip the dogs of war in the ancient city Sove- 

of Chester. reigns 




CHAPTER IV 



THE WALI5 THE BUIDGE AND MILLS 

"'HE matenal ob|ect3 which have 
_ bten associated with the history 
of {. hester from its earliest period are 
the " vllsand the fortress, which, under 
; name or another, has 
dominated the position per- 
haps from even an earlier 
date than the foundation of 
Koman Deva. These two 
portions of our subject, with 
certain other objects closelv 
connetted with them, will 
therefore form the theme of 
this and the succeeding 
chapter. The date of the 
erection of the walls of the 
city, as we now find them, has been a fruitful sub- 
ject of discussion, and those who wish to inform 
themselves upon it to a larger extent than it will 
be possible for them to do in the following lines, 
will do well to study the opening address of the 
winter session of 1887 of the British Archa?ological 
Association, delivered by Sir J. A. Picton, and the 




The City volume of the Journal of the Chester Archaeological 
of and Historic Society for the following year (new 

Chester series, vol. ii.). In the latter especially will be found an 
elaborate discussion of the subject. Without going 
deeply into details, it may be said that parts at least 
of the north and east walls are almost, without a 
doubt, of actual Roman construction. Mr. Brock, 
dealing with the north wall, where the most important 
proofs of Roman construction have been found, says 
that when the walls are examined the first impression 
on the spectator'^s mind is that by far the largest 
portions visible are of mediaeval date, with evidences 
of many repairs. The wall, he proceeds, is none too 
well built, the masonry is for the most part of inferior 
stone, the work irregular, and the patches where 
repairs have been effected are frequent. Standing on 
the north bank, and looking at the north wall, six or 
more repairs are visible in the space between the more 
solid base and the parapet. The singular custom of 
ignoring the natural bed of the stone seems to have 
been very general, and the result is that some of the 
latest executed portions appear to be the most decayed. 
It is, however, as he remarks, the more solid basal 
part of the wall which requires especial study, and on 
this part, as laid bare by excavations in a portion of 
the course of the northern wall, he makes the follow- 
ing remarks : ' It will be noticed that the wall is 
constructed of large ashlar stones laid in courses, 
solid from face to face, except where the upright 
joints do not touch, and these are filled with per- 
colated earth. The beds of the stones are truly 
worked, very even and neat, and there is no mortar, 
except that the rock base has been prepared by a 
layer of mortar laid upon it. The courses are of 
varying heights, and the beds of the stones are laid 
72 



fairly horizontally, with a tendency to follow the The 
undulating nature of the rock on which the wall is Walls — 
built. There is a chamfered plinth now buried the 
beneath accumulated earth. The stones are neatly Bridge 
worked to a face in front, still perfect, but there is no and Mills 
face behind, for the stones end irregularly, some pro- 
jecting beyond the others. This shows conclusively 
enough that the inner face was never worked fair to 
be seen. It is (at the point under description) backed 
up on the city side by a bank of earth, which accounts 
for the uneven nature of the work, and we may con- 
clude that this bank is part of the original construc- 
tion. Above the plinth of three coui*ses the wall 
rises to the height of seventeen courses of the con- 
struction already named. There is then a rounded 
set-off*, and above this there is a change in the mode 
of building. Partly on the massive wall of masonry 
and partly on the earthen bank, with no sort of founda- 
tion except what the wall gives, with no extra footings 
or projecting course on the city side, rises the poorly 
built wall. Mark the diff*erence of its construction. 
It has an inner and an outer face of rough squared 
stones, not in all cases laid horizontally, but in most 
cases laid at random, the space between the two faces 
being filled in with rubble, after the style of all the 
mediaeval walls of Chester. It is built with mortar 
not over good. It is in and with work of this nature 
that the repairs visible from a distance have been 
effected.' It is in the basal part of the wall that the 
Roman tombstones have been found to which allusion 
was made in the first chapter, and it is this part of 
the wall which it is thought may be safely assigned 
to the Roman period. It has been suggested that the 
upper courses of the wall are really the older, and 
that the better lower part is a construction of later 

73 




The City date, the upper part having been underbuilt. Mr. 
of Brock, however, does not think that this argument 

Chester can hold water, and considers that we may safely 
attribute those portions of the wall which are formed 
of un mortared stones — and, by the way, there is no 
other example of this peculiar kind of building con- 
struction on anything like the same scale of magni- 
tude elsewhere in England — or those portions which 
are constructed of large stones, to Roman builders. 
It should be remembered that this kind of construc- 
tion has only been found in the north and east walls. 
We have no knowledge of where the west and south 
walls of Deva lay. Perhaps, some think, there was 
no Roman wall on the west side of Deva. Sir J. A. 
Picton thinks that the building of the Water Tower, 
with its fortified curtain wall, alone is a proof that 
there was no Roman bulwark on this side of the city. 
'If,** he says, * there had been a wall at that time 
running along the margin of the estuary, there would 
have been no need of this flank protection any more 
than on the three remaining sides of the city. We 
must remember that in the time of the Romans, and 
during centuries afterwards, as is manifest by the old 
coast-line which runs many miles round, the Roodeye 
was an open sea where large ships could ride. Under 
the furthest gasometer of those now standing on the 
Roodeye, and at a depth of twenty-seven feet, was 
found a pig of lead, marked Deceangl, which had 
evidently fallen out of a ship. Some idea of the 
depth of the water at this point can be gathered from 
the fact just narrated. The Roman cities under these 
circumstances never built walls along their sea or river 
fronts. Richborough and Pevensey, with massive 
defences on the three land sides, left the sea fronts 
open. London, in early Roman times, though forti- 

74 



fied on the three landward sides, was open to the The 
river, and had no wall on that side until the building Walls — 
of the bridge required protection. Rome itself, during the 
the long lapse of ages, never built any walls along Bridge 
the banks of the Tiber. It may, I think, fairly be and Mills 
inferred,' he concludes, *that in Roman times, and 
for a long period afterwards, there was no wall along 
the bank of the estuary, now the Roodeye.' There 
is, however, a large mass of masonry on the lower 
level of the Roodeye to be accounted for. This may 
have been a quay or platform for the discharge of 
merchandise, since Watkin and Shrubsole have brought 
forward evidence to prove that there was formerly 
a creek or inlet, which debouched into the estuary 
about the north end of the line of this masonry, and 
was about 119 yards wide at its mouth, with a con- 
siderable depth of water. Moreover, in the map of 
1653, given in King'^s Vale Rrn/al^ there is represented 
a platform at this particular spot. It possesses 
returns at each end, and measures by scale two hun- 
dred paces. This can still be traced for 134 feet, 
beyond which it is covered by soil and buildings. 
Sir J. Picton thought that this mass of masonry was 
the Roman wharf, as no doubt it was, but he also 
assumed that Chester in the time of the Romans was 
a prosperous commercial port, having a considerable 
export and import trade. This view seems to be 
conclusively negatived, however, by Mr. Haverfield's 
exposition of the purely military nature of Deva. 
As to the remainder, and greater part, of the walls of 
Chester, these seem to be mainly of Edwardian date, 
though work of the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries 
is also to be traced. It is clear, from what has been 
stated in a previous chapter concerning the remains 
of the Roman Wall in St. John's Street, that much, 

75 




V 



The City if not all, of the present east wall must be purely and 
of entirely post-Roman, not even built on the Roman 

Chester footing, but within the limits of the walls of Deva. 
Mr. Brock points out that one of the re-worked 
stones of the north wall, which was probably originally 
of Roman date, has a very distinct mason'*s mark, 
which he believes to be of Edwardian date. Of course 
the walls have undergone considerable repairs at later 
dates as a result of, or as a preparation for, the various 
assaults which they have been called upon to repel. 
It is obvious that the necessary repairs to walls of 
such importance, and forming a circuit of two miles, 
must have required a considerable amount of atten- 
tion and the expenditure of a good deal of money. 
At times both care and coin seem to have been spared, 
the walls becoming almost ruinous, as they must have 
been when, as detailed in Chapter ii., Lokkes could 
steal away a number of the stones for his own pur- 
poses. A grant was made (14 Edw. ii.) for murage, 
a term which was used, whether originally so intended 
or not, to cover the paving of the streets as well as the 
repair of the walls. The grant, which was for two years, 
was ' for every cranock of all kinds of com, a halfpenny ; 
of all meal and malt, a farthing ; and for what was 
not in the same grant expressed, there should be paid 
for the value of every two shillings, one farthing — 
that is, twopence-halfpenny in the pound ' (Webb). 
The expenditure of this money on the objects for 
which it was designed was placed in the hands of 
persons called here, as at Oswestry, * Murengers.** 
The duties of these officers seem to have been con- 
tinued down to a late date, for Hemingway says of 
them : * The duties of the Murengers were formerly 
of considerable extent and importance, and consisted 
in collecting the customs on imports, which were 
76 



appropriated to the repairs of the city walls. The 
appointment of these officers is continued annually, 
but this source of revenue is almost entirely dried up. 
So long as the direct importation of Irish linens to 
this port was continued, an adequate sum was raised 
for this purpose, but that trade has long since been 
diverted into other channels, and with its disappear- 
ance the revenue has failed.' 

The walls, as above mentioned, have a circum- 
ference of about two miles, and were penetrated by a 
number of gateways, the more important of which 
were held in sergeantry by different families or 
persons, as will be more particularly mentioned when 
each is dealt with. It is still possible to walk round 
the entire circuit of the walls, and indeed this is one 
of the things which no visitor to Chester should 
neglect to do. Not merely from their intrinsic 
interest, but from the views of the city and its houses 
and of the country in its neighbourhood to be ob- 
tained from them, the walk round the walls is one 
of peculiar interest. It is generally commenced at 
the East Gate, which is that nearest to the station, 
by ascending the steps on the north or cathedral side 
of that entrance. The existing gateway was erected 
in 1769 by the Lord Grosvenor of the period. l*en- 
nant describes that which it succeeds as consisting 
of ' two arches much hid by a tower erected over it 
in later days. When the modem case of Norman 
masonry,' he continues, ' was taken down, the Roman 
appeared in full view. It consisted of two arches formed 
of vast stone, fronting Eastgate Street and Forest 
(Foregate) Street; the pillars between them dividing 
them exactly in two, with the figure of a Uoman 
soldier between the arches facing Forest Street." The 
sei^geantcy of this gate was given to Henry de Brad- 



The 

Walls— 
the 

Bridge 
and Mills 



r^ 



The City ford by Edward i. in exchange for lands elsewhere, 
of Subsequently the rights passed into other hands, and 

Chester eventually through those of the de Veres into the 
possession of Randulph Crewe, and thus into the 
family of the earls of that name. The keepers of 
this gate had the inspection of weights and measures, 
and were bound to keep a crannock and a bushel for 
measuring salt. A large number of articles paid toll 
here. Ascending the wall on the north of this gate, 
and walking towards the cathedral, of which and of 
the burying-ground surrounding it a good view is to 
be obtained, the next gate, which stands at the end of 
the Abbey Street, and is called the Kale- Yard Gate, 
will be reached. This gate, which is only a postern, 
and much smaller than the main entrances of the city, 
was made for the convenience of the monks when 
visiting their kitchen- or kale-garden, a spot now 
covered by a school and a timber-yard. It seems 
that the monks must have made a larger gateway 
than they were entitled to, and have taken less care 
in guarding it than was considered necessary, for 
according to a covenant in the Public Record Office, 
London, a settlement had to be arrived at in the 
reign of Edward ii. This covenant is thus calendered : 
' 16 Edward ii. Chester. — Dissensions having arisen 
between the Abbot and Convent of Chester, and the 
Mayor and Commonalty of the city, touching the 
closing of the postern of the said abbey, in the wall 
of the city contiguous to the abbey; it was covenanted, 
that the said Abbot and Convent and their successors 
should hold the said postern closed in time of peace, 
on conditions that they made a drawbridge across the 
ditch in the gardens oi the said abbey, and supported 
the same bridge, and took such measures for the 
security of the city, as they should deem fit, by the 

78 



custody of the keys, and drawing the said bridge ; and The 
that they destroyed the great gate erected by them in Walls — 
their own proper wall, and kept the place closed ; in the 
lieu of which the said Mayor and Commonalty were Bridge 
to permit the said Abbot to make another postern in andMills 
the place outside the walls of the convent in which 
the swinesty was accustomed to be, the said door to 
be of such dimensions that a man on foot might lead 
a horse through without difficulty, the same to be 
closed in time of war, should the safety of the city 
require it/ Still later, in the second year of Henry v., 
the abbot obtained a licence to close two small gates, 
he representing that the public had access by them to 
the gardens of the monastery, where they did much 
damage. One of these gates is that under considera- 
tion. Beyond this gateway was Sadler^s Tower, one 
of several bastions whicli have disappeared. This 
particular tower was taken down in 1780, a period 
when a good deal of destruction, under the guise 
of restoration and improvement, was effected. The 
projecting part of the wall on which the tower stood 
was removed in 1828. One of the most important of 
the existing towers is the next object to be reached, 
' Newton^s Tower,' or as it is now generally called, 
from the device of the Painters' and Stationers' 
Company which is carved upon its south wall, the 
'Phcenix Tower' (see fig. p. 61). This is the tower 
from which King Charles i. is said to have witnessed 
the defeat of his forces on Rowton Moor, an occur- 
rence which, it will be noticed, is commemorated by an 
inscription. It was let, like others of the towers, to 
one of the trading guilds of the city for the purposes 
of their meetings, the body in question being that 
whose device decorates the tower. It is now a sort 
of a small museum. The visitor should not omit to 

79 



r 



The City notice the fine view of the country lying around 
of Chester, and particularly of the objects associated 

Chester with the struggle between the Royalist and Par- 
liamentary troops, which is to be obtained from 
this point. Under the walls at this point is the 
canal, occupying the position of the ancient fosse 
of the city. The next object to be reached is the 
North Gate, one of the important means of entry to 
the city, always under the custody of the mayor and 
citizens. According to an inquisition of 1321, they 
had the right to claim the tolls exacted at the gate, 
but in return they were required to watch it and also 
the prisoners there confined by the earl. There was 
a building over the old gate,^ which was used as the 
gaol, and in addition to taking charge of this the 
civic authorities had to keep the key of the gallows 
and be responsible for the hanging of criminals and 
the carrying out of the punishment of the pillory 
upon those condemned to it. All prisoners confined 
for felony had to pay fourpence to the keeper of the 
prison if they remained in it for more than one night, 
but no charge was made in the case of prisoners for 
debt, recovery, or simple trespass. The old gate was 
removed in 1808, and ' consisted of a dark, narrow, 
and inconvenient passage, under a pointed arch, over 
which was a mean and ruinous gaol, the " Franche- 
house'' or '' Freehouse.'" The late Mr. William 
Denson, who was born in 1800, stated that a tall 
load of hay would not pass through under the arch. 
Toll was still in his day demanded for anything 
brought in or taken out of the city which could not 
be carried in the hand. If this toll was refused, the 
keeper of the gate was authorised to take the bridle 
off the horse. Mr. Denson saw the last toll exacted 

^ See p. 24. 

80 




in this way, and, as it resulted in the horse running The 
away and causing some mischief, tlie custom was Walls — 
abolished. It had a postern on the east, the entrance the 
to the gaol being on the west. Under the gateway Bridge 
was a horrible dungeon, to which the only access of andMills 
air was through pipes (Morris). When the gate thus 
described was taken down, the present edifice, an 
arch in the Doric style, was erected at the cost of 
Earl Grosvenor. It will be noticed that the canal, 
near the North Gate, is crossed by two bridges, the 
smaller of which has a rather curious history. The 
Act for connecting Chester with Nantwich by means 
of a canal was passed in 1771, and it was then in- 
tended that the course of the cutting should be 
somewhat to the north of that which it actually 
occupies. Before work was commenced, however, the 
Corporation decided to adopt the present line, which 
they were entitled by the Act to choose if so dis- 
posed. The contractor, who imagined that in either 
case he would have to cut, at great expense, through 
a sandstone rock, made no demur, but when the work 
came to be carried out, it was found that the line of 
the canal was that of the old city fosse, and that, 
consequently, instead of cutting through rock, all 
that had to be done was to clear the fosse of the 
earth with which it had been filled up. One result 
of this was the making of a handsome fortune by the 
contractor. Another was that the Northgate Gaol 
was cut off from the Chapel of the Hospital of 
St. John, where the prisoners had been in the habit 
of attending divine service. For some time the 
chaplain held services in the gaol itself, but as this 
was an inconvenient arrangement, the small bridge 
was constructed at a cost of £9.0. This little bridge 
is sometimes called the 'Bridge of Death ' or * Bridge 
F 8i 



The City of Sighs,'' since the condemned pnsoners passed over 
of it from their last attendance upon a rehgious service 

Chester 




Morgan's 
Mount 

to the place of their execution. The purpose of the 
hridge came to an end in 1708, when the City Gaol, 
near the Infirmary, came into use, but the causeway 
still remains. The next object to be reached is a 
83 



the 

Bridge 

andMills 



watch-tower called ^ Morgan's Mount,' which possesses The 
a lower chamber at the same level as that of the Walls — 
footway along the wall, and an upper platform, from 
which a fine view, including the Welsh mountains, 
may be obtained. There was a very important 
battery on the top of this tower during the siege of 
the city. The next tower is known as * Pemberton's 
Parlour ' (see fig. p. 58), from one John Pemberton, 
a ropemaker, who in 1700 established a ropewalk 
within the walls, between King Street and the Water 
Tower. He is said to have sat in this tower watching 
his men at work below, hence its present name. In 
earlier days it was called the * Goblin's Tower,' and 
also * Dilles Tower.' In the Harleian ms. it is stated 
that ' the Smyths for a place to sett their carriage,' 
i.e. the movable stage on which mysteries were per- 
formed, ' adjoining to the Shermen under the Walles 
nigh unto a towre called the " DiUes Towre," paid 
the Weavers the comparatively large sum of iiijs. 
yearly.' Pemberton's Parlour is semicircular in shape, 
and may always have been of this construction, though 
some have thought that it was once a circular tower 
with a passage through it — a not very probable con- 
jecture. In 1720, owing to its ruinous condition, a 
large part of this tower had to be taken down, the 
remainder being repaired. An inscription on the 
city side tells us that *In the seventh year of the 
glorious reign of Queen Anne, divers large breaches 
in these Walls were rebuilt and other decays therein 
were repaired, two thousands yards of the pace were 
new flagged or paved, and the whole improved, 
regulated, and adorned at the expense of one thou- 
sand pounds and upwards.' To this statement is 
added the names of the mayors from 1701 to 1708 
inclusive, with that of the Recorder and the Muren- 

83 



The City gers, all of whom were aldermen of the city. Some 
of years ago, owing to the vibration of the trains, the 

Chester Pemberton's Parlour thus rebuilt, became insecure, 
and was entirely rebuilt. The inscriptions and arms 
were, however, replaced above the entrance. Beyond 
this tower and on the left is a tract of ground still 
called * Barrow Field,** said to have been the exercise 
ground for the soldiers of Deva, and also the place of 
interment of the citizens who died in the plague. 
When excavations were being made here in con- 
nection with a visit of the Royal Agricultural Society, 
about the middle of the last century, some Roman 
graves and other objects belonging to the same 
period were found. Beyond this are two towers 
connected by a curtain wall. The higher of these 
is called ' Bonewaldesthome'^s Tower,** ' turris de 
Benewaldesthom,' as it is called in an old indenture. 
The lower building is the 'New** or ' Water' Tower, 
which in spite of its first name was originally built in 
the reign of Edward ii., a sum of ^100 being paid for 
that purpose to John de Helpeston, a mason. He 
contracted to erect a round tower, 10| ells thick and 
24 ells high, with a connecting wall 8 ells in length 
and 4 ells in thickness, with battlements. The 
second name of this tower reminds us that when 
it was built the watera of the Dee actually came up 
to the wall at this point; indeed, it is not so long 
ago that the rings attached to the tower for mooring 
ships were still to be seen. The great meadow, known 
as the Roodeye, which is encircled by the waters of 
the Dee, and is famous as the racecourse of the city, 
was at a previous period part of the bed of the river ; 
in fact, in 1401, it was decided that it could not be 
tithed by the rector of Trinity Church because it was 
land recovered from the sea. In the twenty-ninth 
. 84 




t 



TheCSty year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth this piece of 
of ground was leased to Thomas Lyniall, merchant, the 

Chester spot being ' of late greatly decaied and impaired and 
likely to be more wasted/ He was to be permitted 
to embank as much land as he could and to take two- 
pence for each boat coming in and out, in considera- 
tion of building a quay and paying d£^0 per annum. 
The citizens were not much pleased at this arrange- 
ment, and had to be reprimanded by Sir Francis 
Walsingham. The first part of the name of this 
piece of ground was derived from the fact that a rood 
once stood there. The stump of the cross, after the 
removal of the upper part, remained m situ for some 
time. It was subsequently removed also, but has 
recently been restored to its original position. The 
terminal syllable, here as in so many other names of 
places, means an island, and carries us back to the 
time when the meadow, for a time perhaps a sand- 
bank exposed to view at low tide, had become an 
island possibly surrounded by water at high tide only. 
About two centuries ago the sea actually at high tide 
overflowed the Roodeye and came up to the Water 
Gate. This entrance to the city is a single arch with 
a postern on its southern side. It was built in 1788, 
when the old gate, which had become dangerous, was 
taken down. At the same time the sergeantcy of the 
gate was pinrchased by the city from the Earl of 
Derby, into whose hands it seems to have come with 
the Barony of Montalt. As the walk round the walls 
is continued, the site of the Benedictine Nunnery of 
St. Mary is passed on the left. It is now traversed 
by a road connecting the North Gate with the Gros- 
venor Road. This last-named thoroughfare cuts 
through the walls before the castle is reached, and 
crosses the river by a handsome stone bridge of one 
86 



span, kuown as the Grosvenor Bridge (see p. 114). THe 
Passing the castle, which forms the subject of the Walls — 
next chapter, on the opposite side of the river is the 
to be seen the suburb of Handbridge, so often Bridge 
destroyed by fire and enemies during the earlier and Mills 
times of the city. The field near the water's edge, 
now a public recreation ground, is called Edgar'^s 
Field, and is traditionally the site of that kmg's 
palace. In this field is a rock, at present surmounted 
by a bandstand, in which is a hollow called Edgar'^s 
Cave. At its entrance is the sculpture, almost ob- 
literated, which is believed to represent the goddess 
Minerva, and has been described in the first chapter. 
There appears to have been a ford across the Dec at 
this point during Roman times, the road from which 
led past the sculptured stone. Here, on the Chester 
side, there was a gate in the wall, little more than a 
postern, known as the Ship Gate (see fig. p. 49). It is 
represented in Handle Holme's drawing of the Bridge 
Gate, and though said to have been Roman, was not 
of that date, but was probably built in the time of 
Henry iii. or Edward i. In later years it was known 
under the name of the * Hole in the Wall.' It was 
taken down in 1888 and the aperture blocked up. 
The arch is still to be seen in the Groves, and tne 
position of the aperture can be clearly traced in the 
wall itself. The keeper of this gate was the person 
in charge of the Briage Gate, and, according to an 
inquisition of the time of Edward iii., he had to find 
locks and keys for both gates and to provide a man 
to open and shut the Ship Gate. Tolls on various 
objects were exacted at this as well as at the more 
important entrances to the city. 

The South or Bridge Gate, as it now exists, was 
erected in 1782, and occupies the site of a much 

87 



r 



The City more massive edifice, of which there are various 
of representations extant in old engravings. It was 

Chester an archway with a strong round tower on either 
side. On one of these there was a remarkable 
octagonal tower of later date, called John Tyrer^s 
Water Tower, shown in the figure of the old gate- 
way. This erection owed its origin to a person of 
the name of John Tyrer, who was ' a Conducte in the 
Queere of the Cathedrall Church in Chester,** at the 
beginning of the seventeenth century. He introduced 
a system of supplying water from the Dee to the city, 
and the tower in question was for the purpose of 
getting ' head ** enough to drive the water to the 
higher parts of the city. Tyrer^s system was aban- 
doned before his tower was taken down, for that 
remained until the demolition of the gate in 1781. 
The Harleian ms. tells us that Tyrer himself 'died 
when he had finished his great and good work about 
1611.^ The sergeantcy of this gate was originally in 
the hands of the Bagotte family, but Kichard Bagotte 
being too poor to fulfil the duties belonging to the 
office, handed it over, in about 1267, to Philip the 
clerk, citizen of Chester. It was afterwards held by 
the Raby family, and still later in moieties by the 
Holes and the Norrises. From the former family 
one of these moieties descended through the Trout- 
becks to the Talbots, Earls of Shrewsbury. Near the 
Bridge Gate, according to the picturesque description 
given by Webb, ' the river of Dee doth here incline 
to enlarge itself, having gotten so near the sea, but 
that it is soundly girt in on either side with huge 
rocks of hard stone, which restrain the pride of its 
force.^ And at this point the stream has for ages 
past been crossed by a bridge, from which the ad- 
jacent gate obtains its more usual name. There was 
88 



certainly a bridge in the time of Edward the Con- The 
fessor, for one is mentioned in the Domesday Book, Walh 
but this structure was of wood. The prepositus could the 
summon one man from each hide of the county to Bridge 
come to repair it. Seeing the great importance of and Mills 
this bridge as a connection with Wales, it is not 
wonderful that different kings should have issued 
orders as to its. rebuilding, when destroyed — three 
bridges, at least, were carried away by floods in 1227, 
1297, and 1353 — or its repair. Edward i., in 1280, 
issued an urgent order for the construction of a bridge, 
so necessary for his Welsh campaigns. A century 
later King Richard granted to the citizens ' the issues 
of the passage of the Dee at Chester and of the murage 
accustomed to be given for the repair of the walls, 
to be applied to the rebuilding of the bridge there, 
the destruction of which caused the inhabitants and 
those resorting to the said city much danger and in- 
convenience, and was a source of great loss.** It must 
have been for some time in an almost unusable con- 
dition, for thirty years previously there is a statement 
of the profits accruing frpm the neighbouring ferry, 
to which is added the remark that the bridge was 
broken down and not fully repaired. At least as late 
as the reign of Queen Mary, the bridge was in part 
constructed of wood, for the Murengers' accounts for 
1557 contain an entry of 'iii planks unto Dee brygg 
iis.' That its custodians were afraid that it might 
be easily damaged is shown by the provision, firmly 
adhered to, that no carts with iron-shod wheels should 
be allowed to cross it. Such vehicles could make their 
way across, it is to be presumed, either by the weir or 
causeway, or by the ferry. There seems to have been 
somedisputeas to who should bear thecost of rebuilding 
and keeping in order the bridge. The citizens, being the 

89 



The City nearest persons, were those first to be apphed to when 
of money was wanting ; but they, pleading we may sup- 

Chester pose that the Chester Bridge was at least as much 
a national as a local matter of interest, endeavoured 
to shift the responsibility on to other shoulders. 
They succeeded in proving ' 14 Edward i., that they 
were free from the duty of repairing it, but the in- 
habitants of the county were bound.' This cannot, 
however, entirely have disposed of the dispute, for in 
15 Henry vii., we find St. John's Hospital establishing 
its claim to be free from paying sums towards the 
repair of the bridge. The mediaeval bridge had a 
tower and house at either end. These were of course 
for protection during time of war, but when peace 
reigned they were let. In the time of Queen Eliza- 
beth there was an indenture made between the civic 
authorities and one 'WilPm Goodman of the Citie 
aforesaid, M'chaunte,' letting to him these towers for 
a term of ' threscore yeres.' There is, however, a very 
important proviso, permitting the resumption of the 
towers in case of war. * PVided also, and it is con- 
cluded and agreed, that it shall and may be lefuU to 
and for the Maior Cytizens and Comynaltie of the 
said Citie and their Successors, into the said Towers 
to reenter in the tyme of warrs within this Realme of 
England, either with or Againste the said Realme, 
and the same Towers for the defence of the said Citie 
duringe such tyme of warrs to occupie and vse at 
their wills and pleasure.' The bridge at present con- 
sists of seven arches, though it is said to have at one 
time possessed a greater number. In 1826 a project- 
ing footpath, seven feet in width, was added to the 
ancient structure, much altering its appearance if 
adding to its usefulness. What the old bridge and 
mill looked like may be seen in the tailpiece to 
90 



this chapter. Before leaving this part of the The 
walls, attention should be called to two other Walh 
objects in the neighbourhood — the Mills and the the 
Weir. Bridge 

The mill was always a most important factor in the andMills 
life of any town or large village, and the tolls paid for 
its use often formed an important part of the income 
of the lord of the manor, the abbey, or other person 
or body to whom it belonged. In most cases 
tenants were bound down to use no other mill than 
that of their lord, and this monopoly at Chester re- 
turned a rich reward to the Earls of Chester to whom 
the mill belonged. So rich in fact was it, that there 
is a Cheshire proverb which says of an extravagant 
person, 'If thou hadst the rent of Dee Mills thou 
wouldst spend it.' In 1351 the Black Prince, as Earl 
of Chester, made a grant of two hundred pounds per 
annum — a very large sum for those days — to Richard 
Earl of Arundel, which payment was made from the 
fee-farm of the city and the monies collected from 
the mill. Again in 1442, Eleanor Cobham, who had 
been convicted of having practised against the king^s 
life, and who had done penance, lighted taper in 
hand, through the streets of London, was confined 
for some time in the castle at Chester, during which 
time the clerk of the mills on the Dee was instructed 
by warrant to pay one hundred marks yearly for her 
sustenance. How stringent were the regulations as 
to the usage of the mill may be gathered from the 
fact that in the time of Edward iii. it was shown that 
all residents in the city (except Sir Peter de Thorn- 
ton, Robert de Bradford, the Abbot of ' Dieulen- 
cresse,** Roger Blount, and the nuns of St. Mary'^s) 
were bound under penalty of forfeiture of their com 
to bring it to be ground at the mill, and no one was 

91 



rv 



The City 

of 

Chester 



allowed to have a hand-mill. For the third oiFence 
against this order, the horses and cart, as well as the 
com, were forfeit to the earl. The miller took his 
percentage of the corn for the labour of grinding it, 
and sometimes this is alleged to have amounted to 
one-half of the sack. In 1098 Hugh Lupus granted 
permission to the Abbot of St. Werburgh's to have a 
mill of his own below the bridge, the earPs mill being 












.■^.ic=^ 



•••yUflfcPMW^V 









^^'iMMUin'- 



THE OLD BRIDGE 



above it. This mill later on became a serious rival 
to the other establishment, for in the time of Henry iv. 
Henry de Sutton, then abbot, was indicted for com- 
pelling all his tenants, and also all other persons 
residing outside the Northgate, to grind their corn 
at the Bache Mill, and at the windmill belonging to 
the abbey. There is much known about the history 
of the mill, and those who would follow it more 
closely than is here possible are referred to the pages 
of Canon Morris's book. The mills have been thrice 
destroyed by fire, but the present buildings occupy 
the identical spot on which mills were erected at least 
92 



^ 



as early as somewhere about the end of the eleventh 
century. In the time of Edward vi. the mills, which 
then vested in the crown, were handed over to Sir 
Kichard Cotton, Comptroller of the Household, in 
return for lands in Lincolnshire. There were also 
included in the grant * that fish-room and fishing of 
the King's Poole in Dee, to be holden in capite by 
the service of the 40th part of one Knight's fee.** 
This reminds one that this reach of the river is and 
has always been celebrated for its salmon. Chester 
is one of the places of which the story is told that a 
part of the indenture of each apprentice was the 
covenant that he was not to be obliged to eat salmon 
more than so many days a week. What may have 
been the origin of this tale it has been so far im- 
possible to discover, but it is a piece of folk-lore met 
with in many places. It is common in various parts 
of England, and is also met with in Scotland, Ireland, 
on the Continent at Dordrecht, and in America. 
In spite of this, it has so far proved impossible to 
discover any indentures anywhere containing this 
particular provision. The late Mr. Frank Buckland 
made great efFoi-ts to discover such a document, and, 
according to his own account, was 'once very near 
getting it,' but its possessor had destroyed it a week 
before. After a careful consideration of the evidence, 
it seems probable that the entire tale is a myth ; but 
from what it may have arisen has yet to be suggested. 
The weir near the mill was long a bone of conten- 
tion between the citizens and the owners of the mill. 
The former tried to have the weir removed on the 
ground that it was prejudicial to the interests of the 
city, and the latter naturally resisted this demand. 
Commissioners sat during the reign of James i., not 
merely at Chester but also at Holt, Wrexham, and 

93 



The 

Walls— 
the 

Bridge 
and Mills 




The City Fleet, to hear evidence on this point. The inhabi- 
of tants of the first-named place contended that the 

Chester existence of the weir caused their lands to be flooded, 
their fishing to be injured, and their navigation to be 
ruined. In the end the commissioners * found some 
matters impertinent to their charge, and tending to 
mayntain the private goode of some citizens there, 
and not the publique weale and benefitte of the city 
and countrey.^ This somewhat cryptic utterance 
was followed by the decree, which makes its meaning 
much clearer, tnat ' one full third of the said Weyre 
be pulled down, and the River there made open, and 
that one half of the said New Key shall be abated 
and taken away ; that the obstructions and annoyance 
at Hoult Bridge should be wholly removed, and that 
ten yards in length of the said Cawsey in the middle 
of the channell downe to the bottom of the ryver 
shall be pulled down and taken away.** The ordi- 
nance was not, however, carried out, for the judges 
of appeal found that, the weir having existed prior to 
the reign of Edward i., there was no power to pull it 
down but only to decrease its size should it be proved 
to have been enhanced since it was built. There was 
nearly a conflict between Wales and England on this 
occasion, the inhabitants of the former principality 
threatening that they would come down and carry 
out the decree of the commissioners themselves. In 
the time of the Commonwealth the weir was again 
threatened, no doubt largely because the mill was at 
that time owned by the Gamulls, who were loyal 
subjects of the king. 

Like the former decree, however, the order then 
made was never carried out; and the weir, often 
threatened, still exists. Returning from this digres- 
sion to the subject of the walls, the next point to 

94 



fK 



notice is a set of steps leading down from the wall, The 

to the outer side, known as the 'Recorder's Steps.' Walls — 

Though now public, they were once private stairs, and the 

WCTe erected for his own convenience by Roger Com- Biidf^ 

berbach, who was then the Recorder, and lived in and Mills 




the Groves outside the walls, in 1700. Subsequently 
the use of these steps was permitted to the .owners of 
one or two other private houses on the Dee side. 
Afterwards the parishioners of St. John's claimed, and 
95 



The City were accorded, the sole o^Tiership of the steps as well 
of as the right of way. Another set of steps, but this 

Chester time forming part of the wall, lies beyond those of 
which we have been speaking. This set is known by 
the name of the Wishing Steps, from a local piece of 
folk-lore which proclaims that if any person forms 
a wish, and immediately after doing so runs from 
bottom to top, down again and once more up, without 
taking breath during that process, the wish which 
has been formed will be granted. As an exercise for 
those in training for diving competitions the attempt 
to carry out this task may be strongly commended 
Beyond the Wishing Steps comes the last of the gates 
the * New Gate,' so called in the Murengers' accounts, 
temp. Edward vi. It was also known as the 'Wolf 
Gate,' or again as ' Pepper Gate,' from the fact that 
it is at the end of the street of that name. There is 
a story that a young man once stole away the daughter 
of a mayor of Chester as she was playing ball near 
this gate, and that the angry father caused it to be 
closed up. True or false, this story has given rise to 
the local proverb, * When the daughter is stolen, shut 
the Pepper Gate.' Canon Morris produces some 
evidence to show that the story may have been true, 
and perhaps has even been successful in identifying 
the persons connected with it. He says: *In the 
Assembly Book, vol. i., are two entries following one 
another, the juxtaposition of which suggests that by 
them the father (an alderman, not a mayor) may be 
identified. At a meeting of the council held Jan. 
14, 1573, reference is made to "a certaine gate or 
passage through the walls, called Wolf-gate, or New- 
gate, which for divers good causes, and for the avoid- 
ing of divers enconvenncnces heretofore happened 
therebv as by old records apeareth, was shutt up and 

96 



now of late sett open to the encreasinge of the said The 
enconveniences.^ An order is made that the gate Walls — 
shall forthwith be "stopped, made up, and fenced the 
substancially, and as surely as the said maior shall Bridge 
cause it to be made up,^ and "no passage to be and Mills 
suffered in the nyght, and the same to be opened in 
the day.'*'* At a meeting four days later (18 Jan. 
1 573) Hugh Rogerson, alderman, ana Richard Wright, 
draper, are charged with aiding and furthering the 
enticement and stealing away of Ellen, daughter to 
Alderman Rauff Aldersay. It is added that the 
young lady was married " by an unlawful ipinister to 
one Rauff laman, draper, without the consent and 
goodwill of any othr kinsfolk or frends, to ther great 
heaviness and greif, and contrary to any good civile 
order.'' The elopement was made the subject of 
harangues from the pulpit, the preachers blaming the 
magistrates for their negligence in suffering the same. 
" For that the like heretofore was not heard of within 
this citie in any man's remembrance," and to check 
this evil, Hugh Rogerson was fined ten shillings and 
committed a prisoner to his own dwelling-house until 
the fine was paid. Richard Wright, refusing at first 
to submit to punishment, was disfranchised, and had 
his "shopp windowes letten downe and shutt and 
barred for his utterannce," but later, acknowledging 
his fault, was restored to his franchise on payment of 
thirteen shillings and fourpence, and imprisonment 
at the mayor'^s pleasure.' Whether this is the case 
on which the story and the proverb be founded or 
not, it is an interesting picture of the manners of the 
time and the way in which the citizens dealt with the 
abduction of this Helen of Chester. The last object 
on the walls, and it is one of no great interest, is 
what remains of a small turret, called Thimbleby's 
G 97 




The City Tower, Beyond this the southern side of the East 
of Gate is reached, and the circuit of the walls has been 

Chester completed. 




OLD BRIDGE {after CuUl) 



r> 



CHAPTER V 



THE CASTLE 

THERE may 
possibly liave 
been a British 
earthwork on the 
liill where the 
castle now stands. 
It was, however, 
we may say, cer- 
tainly notincluded 
within the limits 
oftheRomai]city. 
The later history 
of the spot, so far 
as it is known, 
repeats the story 
of many other 
fortresses in this island. The Saxon lord may 
have * wrought his burh' there, or he may not; but 
the Norman earl, when he took possession of the 
land, with pick and spade heaped up his mound, 
and added to it a base-court, or perhaps more than 
one such enclosure. His earthen Keep and the walls 
of the courts, its baileys, he further strengthened with 




The City palisades of wattle or stockades of wood. Later on, 
of if the fortress continued to play its part, as the years 

Chester went by, stone buildings were added and a keep 
erected on the mound. To this may afterwards have 
been added outer walls, enclosing one or more baileys, 
containing establishments of various kinds connected 
with the fortress, until the complicated arrangements 
of one of the larger castles were arrived at. Thus 
the site of the buhr, at least in some cases, became 
that of the castle; and in the process of the later 
evolution the position of the original earthen mound 
has often become difficult, if not impossible, to find. 
Sometimes it is quite obvious, as at Warwick and 
Tamworth, at both of which places the mound is 
distinct to this day; but at other places, such as 
Kenilworth, though there is practically no doubt 
that there was once a mound, it is difficult, if not 
impossible, to say which of the heaps of earth may 
be the actual elevation. Now, at Chester, we know 
that Aethelflaed, that energetic defender of Mercia, re- 
founded the citv, which had been void for one hundred 
and fifty years, and no doubt at the same time wrought 
there a Duhr, as she did at so many other places, 
including — to mention only those in the neighbour- 
hood — Bridgnorth, Stafford, Eddisbury, Cherbury, 
and Runcorn. The castle was separated from the 
city itself by a shallow valley, from which rose the 
eminence on which the building was seated, an emin- 
ence which had an abrupt face looking towards the 
river. Mr. Cox, from whose erudite paper on Chester 
Castle much of what follows has been extracted, 
thinks that it is fairly certain that the inner or upper 
bailey of the castle, represented by the older parts of 
the existing structure, still stands upon the earth- 
works thrown up by Aethelflaed and approximately 
1 02 



follows their lines, and that the great mound stood The 
on the south-western side, where it is still traceable. Castle 
and was more clearly visible before the present build- 
ings were erected, its site having always been distin- 
guished by the flag- tower ; this distinction, he thinks, 
having probably continued to mark it as the site of 
the commander's post since its construction in the 
year 907. The fortress was almost certainly addition- 
ally fortified with a wooden stockade, and the later 
Norman edifice, founded, according to Ordericus, in 
1069, must have been at least partly thus provided, 
and so have continued for a number of years. In the 
Public Record Office there is a letter which is in part 
given in the Cheshire Sheafs and may, thinks the 
transcriber, be dated, from internal evidence, about 
the year 1260. This letter, which is in Latin, con- 
tains directions about the fortification of Chester and 
Disarth Castles, and ordains as follows concerning 
the former : ' Mandamus quod ballium circa castrum 
nostrum Cestriae, quod clausum fuit palo, amoto palo 
illo, ciaudi faciatis calce et petra.' Or to English a 
larger part of the same document : ' Henry, by the 
grace of God, King of England, etc. etc., to his 
beloved and faithful J. de Grey, his Justiciary of 
Chester. We command you that you cause to be 
removed the wooden fence of the bailey around our 
castle of Chester, and that you cause the said bailey 
to be enclosed with a stone wall. And that in like 
manner you re-edify the bailey around our castle of 
Dissard, wherever it may be necessary. And the 
sums you shall expend on the same, being certified by 
the view and testimony of lawful men, shall be allowed 
to you at our Exchequer.'* That the entire Norman 
building was not so constructed, but that there was a 
stone keep, seems to be proved by Mr. Cox's discovery 

103 




The City that the lower story of the flag- tower, as it still exists, 

of is probably the much-hidden basement of the Norman 

Chester keep. It is divided in the basement into two vaulted 

cellars, this being a Norman characteristic. 

If this be the case, the contention that the so-called 
Caesar''s Tower was the keep falls to the ground, and 
indeed one must agree that this contention has been 
demolished by Mr. Cox''s arguments. The plan of the 
inner bailey of Chester Castle belongs to the improved 
architecture of the thirteenth century. In castles of 
this date the keep was no longer the heart of the 
whole fortress, its kernel and centre. A courtyard 
was erected with gates and flanking towers, within 
which were built the hall, the chapel, and the other 
apartments, all of which had formerly found their 
place in the keep. Sometimes this enclosure, with 
its contained buildings, constituted the entire castle, 
but generally there was a second external line of 
defence, formed of walls, with entrenchments and 
earthworks. Of this period, says Mr. Cox, is Chester 
Castle in its upper bailey. Canon Morris notes that 
in the Close Rolls of 35 Henry iii. (1251) is contained 
an order from the king to his justiciary, Alan de 
Zouche, directing the wall of the outer ward and the 
new hall in the castle, which are begun, to be finished. 
Mr. Cox thus describes the castle as existing at the 
period in question. The inner bailey of Chester Castle 
was surrounded by a lofty wall, partly on the ridge 
of the earlier entrenchments, and partly revetting or 
facing them. The enclosure, though conforming 
generally to the oval form of the old work, was poly- 
gonal, and was entered by a gatehouse flanked by 
two half-round towers ; a third tower, round to the 
front and square in rear, flanked the ditch on the 
west and north-west; this still remains, but much 
104 



altered. The east side stood high upon a rock, aiid The 
required no flanking; and on this side, which was Castle 
least exposed to attack, stood the hall with its pon*h, 
and the solar or parlour, with chamber above, at the 
east end, at right angles with it. The main feature 
of the north-west face consisted of two square towers, 
rising to some height above the curtain walls, but 
having no projection beyond the line of the curtain 
for flanking purposes ; a third square tower, the keep, 
to the west, occupied the mound, and formed the 
flag-tower. A little to the south was a square wall 
bastion, which, so far as most plans and drawings go, 
is shown open at the gorge. But the requirements 
of the defence, also some slight remains of founda- 
tions, and one drawing in Grose''s Antiquitie^Sy indicate 
that it W61S originally closed, and corresponded in plan 
with the square tower flanking the entrance gateway. 
Near it a sallyport opened from a flight of steps at 
the base of the wall, and was defended by a machico- 
lated bartizan carried on corbels above it. The gate- 
house had a width of fifty feet. The square tower 
next to it (westward) had its inner face smaller than 
the others ; its flanks inclined inwards to meet this, 
the larger faces measured thirty feet, the round- 
fronted tower was twenty-five by fifty feet, and the 
keep on the mound thirty feet square. The upper 
story of the keep was reached by steps on each side 
(apparently later constructions than the tower) rising 
from the curtain wall, and defended by a parapet 
corbelled outwards with stepped merlons. The tower 
east of the gateway is the present Caesar'^s Tower, 
containing the chapel, a crypt below it, and a vaulted 
room above. The purpose of the three square towers 
was not to flank the curtain wall, but to command 
from their summits the passage of the river and the 

105 




The City strip of land between the river and the city wall, 
of This, Mr. Cox thinks, constituted the entire of the 

Chester first mediaeval or military castle ; in fact, he points 
out that the buildings of the outer or lower bailey 
mask, to a great extent, the command that the older 
towers were intended to cover, separating them from 
the control of the open land towards the north ; and 
he finds a confirmation of this theory in the earlier 
and later views which exist of this part of the building. 
The square towers on the enclosure wall, with the 
exception of Caesar's Tower, appear to have been 
originally all open in the gorge or rear, and adapted 
solely for defensive use, not for occupation by troops 
or stores ; if they were closed at all, it was probably 
with wood. At a later date, the gorges were closed 
with masonry, and the towers made fit for occupation. 
This, he says, is shown by the fact that the buttresses 
on the exterior of the wall are all of the pilaster type, 
prevalent in the early first pointed style ; those in the 
rear are of later character (probably fifteenth-century 
type), suggesting that they were added work. The 
buttresses of Caesar'^s Tower are of the pilaster form 
on each face. Thus, these towers seem to have had 
only a defensive use, of which the building of the 
outer bailey at a later date partially deprived them. 
The hall, he proceeds, of this earlier castle was towards 
the east, furthest withdrawn from points of attack ; 
its size was thirty-three by sixty-six feet; it had a 
porch at the north end, communicating also with the 
chapel in Caesar's Tower, and having a chamber over 
it set transversely to the hall, adjoining which was a 
well. At its south end a building of the same dimen- 
sions contained the solar, or parlour, and the chamber ; 
and from these, at the south angle, a staircase led 
down to the bottom of the wall into the ditch. Below 
io6 



this hall and chambers there appear to have heen The 
substructures, w ith narrow lights opening in the wall, Castle 




probably cellars or crypts for storage. Caesar's Tower, 
107 



The City still in existence, has, as Mr. Cox points out, none of 
of the internal features of a keep, being devoid of any 

Chester fireplace or well, and possessing no rooms spacious 
enough to serve as habitations for the earl or his 
retinue. Its ground story is a finely groined crypt 
to the chapel, and is very little below the level of the 
present castle-yard; the groining forms a kind of 
sexpartite vault, with bold^plainly chamfered ribs 
springing from short, half-octagon wall shafts with 
plain capitals, set upon a high plinth. This room is 
entered by a door with a plain soffit, not divided into 
orders, and with a simple roll-moulding on the outer 
edge; a single small square window lights it; and on 
the right hand, a wide newel-staircase, occupying the 
angle turret, leads to the two upper rooms. On the 
middle story is the chapel, a lofty room divided into 
three bays of quadripartite vaulting, carried on 
detached round vaulting shafts at the sides, with caps 
and a single roll-moulding at the angles ; the ribs of 
the acutely pointed vaulting cells are very massive 
and finely moulded, with three ' filleted rolls and an 
intermediate angular member ; there is no longitudinal 
rib. At each springing the vaulting shaft is circular, 
with a floriated and voluted capital and a moulded 
base, characteristic of the first pointed style, and 
rather early in the period ; but these and the mould- 
ings mark the date unmistakably as being within 
the fully developed style that prevailed in the reign 
of Henry iii. The door is at the right side in the first 
bay ; and at what should be the west end the window 
has a lancet arch, which in one of the ancient drawings 
shows as two trefoiled lights ; it is now built into a 
square, as is the window over the altar. This struc- 
ture stood in a recess in the thickness of the wall, 
with a low segmental pointed arch over it. The 
io8 



Ik 



Easter Sepulchre probably exists in the shape of a The 

similar recess on the left, and on the ri^ht there is a Castle 

plain aumbry. The interior surface of the walls of 

the chapel was painted in frescoes on a coat of plaster, 

but these are now almost indistinguishable owing to 

the whitewash which has defaced them. According 

to an MS. account of the chapel of the seventeenth 

century, there were a number of coats of arms amongst 

its decorations. Of these, some do not appear to 

have been identified; the others, according to a 

writer in the Cheshire Sheaf, belonged to families 

most probably connected with judges, chamberlains, 

or other chief ofiicers of the Palatinate Court or of 

the castle. One of them displays the arms of Roger 

de Clinton, Bishop of Coventry, Lichfield, and Chester. 

It was in this chapel that James ii. heard Mass on 

the visit to Chester, as recorded in an earlier chapter. 

This is probably the last time on which this edifice 

has been used for its original purpose. A ditch, 

apparently over one hundred feet wide, separated the 

outerfromthe inner bailey — thefonner having,it would 

seem, been erected in the reign of Edward i. The 

gatehouse was on the north-east, and was protected 

by two massive and lofty half-drum towers. On the 

east of the tower was a court, where the kitchen and 

other buildings associated with it found a place ; and 

still further south was the ' splendid and spacious 

shire-hall, the glory of the castle, whose loss is poorly 

compensated by the great and costly modern building 

reared by Harrison on its site, notwithstanding its 

majesty of classical proportion and detail,** to ouote 

Mr. Cox's words. From his account of this building 

the following details are extracted : The length of 

the haJl was ninety-nine feet, and its extreme breadth 

was said to be forty-five feet, but the plan shows only 

109 



r>v 



The City 
Chester 



a breadth of about forty to forty-two feet ; it was of 
great height, and is described as resembling West- 
minster Hall. ' Height very awful,' says Pennant, 
who adds other details concerning this chamber. At 
its western base were two projecting bays, one at 
each end. That towards the north was the porch, 
which had its doorway turned towards the south, so 
that it might face away from any missiles thrown over 
the north or west curtain wall. From this porch the 
visitor would pass behind the screens, which almost 
always occupied the lower end of the hall. Behind 
this screen would be the entrances or points of com- 
mimication with the buttery, and above it a minstrel 
gallery. At the far end from the screen would be the 
dais. It is most probable, thinks the writer from 
whom quotation has so frequently been made in this 
section, that Edward i. constructed the whole of the 
outer bailey as an addition to the original castle. 
The fact that this monarch was an active organiser of 
municipal and local legislative institutions also makes 
it probable that these great buildings, designed from 
the first for the use of the shire courts, and the 
exchequer or Parliament chamber of the County 
Palatine, were provided by him for their accommoda- 
tion. There seems to have been a central hearth, 
judging from the fact that pictures of the hall show 
a very large louvre in the centre of the roof. From 
Pennanfs description, the roof at his period seems to 
have been of the hammer- beam type ; but this was not 
the original covering of the hall, which was, in all 
probability, in part supported by oak pillars, like the 
Guildhall at York. This method of carrying a roof 
was superseded by the hammer-beam plan, by which 
roofs of wide span could be supported without the 
aid of pillars. The exchequer court stood across the 

IIO 




south end of the shire-hall, its two stories not^ how- The 

ever, reaching the height of its sister edifice. The Castle 

upper cham^r was fitted for the purposes of the 

court itself. It was arranged somewhat after the 

manner of a chapter- house, and had ten canopied and 

sculptured stalls — one for the earl, one for the abbot, 

and four on each side for the barons. Kxternal 

to the outer bailey was a wide ditch, aflimling 

space for a garden, claimed in 15S4 with the 

custody of the gates of the Dee Bridge by 

George, Earl of Shrewsbury. Canon Morris, quoting 

from a contemporary document, gives an ac»count of 

how the produce of the garden was disposed of 

between gardener and earl. The gardener claimed 

all the fruit of the best tree in the garden, called 

the * Restyng Tree," as well as the fruit remaining on 

the other trees after the first shaking, which was the 

property of the earl. In return for the fruit, tluw 

described, the gardener was bound to find vogetablcH 

for the earl during his stay at the castle from 

Michaelmas to Lent, and leeks during the lienten 

fast. The description of the castle may be conc^luded 

by some of the remarks made about it in the Valr 

Royal^ written late in Elizabeth's reign : — * Upon the 

south side of the city, near unto the said water of 

Dee, and upon a high bank or rock of sU)ne, is 

mounted a strong and stately autiU^ round in form ; 

the base-court likewise enclosed with a circular wall, 

which to this day retaineth one testimony of the 

Romans'' magnificence, having therein a fair and 

ancient square tower; which, by testimony of all 

writers I have hitherto met withal, beareth the name 

of Julius Caesar's Tower/ After this the rooms in 

the castle are enumerated, amongst which it is notwl 

thAt * within the precincts of which castle is aW> the 

III 




The City king's prison for the county of Chester, with the 
of office of prothonotary.** Further, it is added that there 

Chester is ' a fair draw-well of water in the middest of the 
court, divers sweet and dainty orchards and gardens, 
besides much of the ancient buildings, for want of 
care, fallen to ruin and decay.' Mention of the 
prison reminds one of the many prisoners of import- 
ance who have been confined within its walls. It 
has already been stated that it was used for the 
soldiers captured in the 'Fifteen' and the 'Forty- 
Five,' and Canon Morris enumerates the following 
notable persons who have also been prisoners here : 
David, brother of Prince Llewelyn ; King Richard ii. 
and Janico d'Artois, his trusty adherent; Eleanor 
Cobham, good Duke Humphrey's Duchess, for whose 
keep the revenues of the mill were employed ; Richard 
Oldon, Abbot of St. Werburgh's and Bishop of Sodor ; 
and later, in connection with the dissolution of the 
monasteries, the Abbot of Norton, Randall Brereton, 
baron of the exchequer at Chester, and John Hall, 
merchant of Chester, who were seized by Sir Piers 
Dutton for complicity with the ' Pilgrimage of Grace.' 
In the times of William iii. it was employed as a 
prison for captives from Ireland, and sums for the 
keep of these unhappy persons are contained in a 
list of payments, made out of the Secret Service 
Money of William iii., which is preserved in the 
Bodleian Library. If the digression may be pardoned, 
it may here be pointed out that the fact that Chester 
was for so many years the main port for Dublin, and 
thus for the central parts of Ireland, and that it so 
remained until Liverpool, and still more Holyhead, 
drove it from its position, accounts for the large 
amount of connection of various kinds between the 
County Palatine and the capital of the sister isle. 

112 



Attention has already been called to the fact that T^he 
Chester was the port of departure for soldiers going Castle 
to the Irish war and a place for the reception of 
Irish prisoners, and another curious fact may be citecj 
before this matter is left. There is still extant a 
list of the students in attendance on the courses at 
Trinity College, Dublin, during the Provostship of 
Temple, who was appointed to that post in 1609. In 
this list are included seventy-eight Irish students, 
twelve strangers of Derbyshire, and eight strangers of 
Cheshire. What was the special nexus with the 
first-named county is not clear, but it is easy to 
understand why Cheshire students should have 
crossed the water to the Elizabethan University. No 
mention of strangers from any other part of England, 
or indeed from any other part of the kingdom, appears 
in the list referred to. The castle as it now stands 
is separated from the road by a classic colonnade 
commenced in 1797, when amidst great festivities 
the first of the columns of the portico was erected. 
According to the Chester Chrcniicle of the period, 
' The column having been previously brought to its 
situation, and all the machinery prepared, several 
coins of his present Majesty, in a small urn of 
Wedgwood's ware, enclosed in another of lead, were 
deposited in a cavity of the plinth, over which was 
placed a brass plate with a suitable inscription. 
This being done, the machinery immediately began 
to work, the band playing " God save the King,'' and 
in about twenty minutes the column was raised ; upon 
which the Volunteers fired three excellent vollies, the 
field pieces firing likewise three rounds, and the 
cannon upon the battery ; together with three cheers 
from the whole of the corps, workmen, etc. These 
columns are of excellent stone, of a good colour, and 
H 113 




The City were brought from Maiiley, about eight miles from 
of Chester, upon a carriage with six wheels built on 

Chester purpose, drawn by sixteen horses, and when in the 




rough weighed from fifteen to sixteen tons each. 
They are three feet six inches in diameter, and with- 
out the capitals, measure twenty-two feet six inches 
long, being considerably larger than those in front 
of the New College at Edinburgh. There will be 
twelve of these columns in the portico in two rows, 
of the Doric order, without bases, and twelve more 
likewise, of one atone, something smaller, of the 
Ionic order, forming a colonnade round the semi- 
circular part of the inside of the hall. This building, 
when complete, it is pi-esumed, will be one of the 
most magnificent edifices of the kind in the kingdom ; 
and from the manner in which it is internally con- 
trived for the convenience of the court and audience, 
114 



it is hoped, too, it will both for seeing and hearing The 
be one of the most useful. It has the same disposi- Castle 
tion within as, but larger than, the new hall nearly 
finished in the Gothic style at Lancaster by the 
same architect. A great portion of the hall within, 
and the portico, will be completely finished with 
hewn stone of the same quality as the column ; and 
there is no doubt but that the execution of this 
massy piece of masonry will do equal credit to the 
undertakers as, from the models and present appear- 
ance, the gaol and county hall promise to do to the 
architect.' The portico seems to have taken a long 
time to complete, for in 1813 there is another news- 
paper entry narrating the erection of a further 
column. 'On Thursday last one of the columns 
belonging to the superb entrance gate to Chester 
Castle yard was reared upon its plinth. The Den- 
bigh Militia attended upon this occasion, and after 
the column was reared, fired three excellent voUies. 
Their Colonel, Sir W. W. Wynn, after depositing, 
in a small circular cavity cut in the plinth, several 
coins of the present reign, placed over them a brass 
plate bearing the following inscription : — " Under 
this column, erected August 26th, 1813, in the 
presence of the Royal Denbighshire Militia, Sir 
Watkin W. Wynn, Colonel of the said regiment, 
placed this plate to record the signal victory gained 
over the French by Field-Marshal Lord Wellington, 
near Vittoria, in Spain, June the 21st, 1813, and 2nd 
of the Regency of H.R.H. Geo., Prince of Wales.'' 
Round this plate, upon the stone plinth, was cut 
the following memorial of the last triumph of the 
Marquis of Wellington : — " Victory of the Pyrenees, 
gained by Lord Wellington, July 30th, 1813."' 
Before leaving the subject of the castle, it may be 

IIS 



The City appropriate to say something about the Gloverstone 
of and the district which took its name from it, since 

Chester both were in this neighbourhood. The subject has 
been fully dealt with by the late Mr. Shrubsole in 
a paper printed in the Journal of the Chester Archaeo- 
logical and Historic Society, from which the following 
notes are extracted. The Gloverstone itself, which 
has disappeared and was very likely rolled into the 
ditch of the old castle, since tradition says that it was 
buried, was probably a large smooth boulder, placed 
at an angle of the street in order to secure the foot- 
path from traffic. Its name was derived from the 
purpose to which it was secondarily put, for it was 
used by the freemen glovers, who lived hereabouts, 
to scrape and otherwise prepare skins for their trade. 
The washing was conveniently performed in the river, 
easily approached by an opening in the wall at the 
foot of St. Mary**s Hill. It was also a boundary 
stone, for on its east and south side the township 
extended no further east than this point, and on the 
west it ran in a direct line to the Nuns' Gardens. 
The township of Gloverstone itself was a piece of 
land separating the castle from the city, and lying 
between the fortress and the city wall at White 
Friars. This plot was claimed as the appurtenance 
of the castle. At first, no doubt, it was unoccupied 
and served as a kind of parade-ground for mustering 
and drilling soldiers, purposes for which there was 
scant accommodation within the walls. Thus it 
formed a part of the liberties of the castle. Here, 
says Mr. Shrubsole, minor or trade offenders might 
dwell under the aegis of the castle, and he adds 
that whatever may have been the nature of the 
offence committed by the refugees, it came in time 
to be recognised as the home for those oppressed by 
Il6 



the rigid laws and customs under which trade was The 
then pursued, and as a place where in later times Castle 
the leave-lookers of the city could not interfere with 
trade or traders, or the mayor or corporation assert- 
any jurisdiction. It became, in his opinion, not so 
much a residence for the viciously disposed as for 
the unfortunate victims of oppressive laws. Possibly 
there may at one time have been a * Jewry ' at this 
place. At a time too when the trades formed them- 
selves into guilds for their own protection and for 
the purposes of keeping out strangers, Gloverstone 
may have been a place to which offenders against 
trade rules were banished. The site of the township 
was that of the later St. Bridget'^s Church taken 
down in 1892, for in 1824 Batenham writes : ' It has 
recently been suggested to remove St. Bridget's 
Church to a more eligible situation. In this event 
it is proposed to rebuild the church on the place 
called Gloverstone, where there would be a spacious 
burying ground.' He adds that this township was 
' a place where freemen now exercised their respective 
callings unmolested,' but that *the greater part of 
the houses are now taken down to make room for 
projected improvements.' In 1666, when there was 
fear of an invasion of the country by the Dutch 
forces, a meeting was summoned to concert measures 
of defence, and this meeting was to take place at 
Gloverstone. A letter was sent by the Lords-Lieu- 
tenant of the County to the authorities of the various 
Hundreds of Cheshire, which runs : — 

* To all and evrie the Lords, bar'tts, K'ts, Esq'rs, 
and Gent' within Edesbury. 

' Gentlemen, — There being great reason to doubt 
that there are preparations made by the Enemies of 

117 



The City this Kingdome towards an Invasion, wee cannot omitt 
of to give you Notice thereof, you being equally con- 

Chester cerned with vs in such a danger. And further to 
Informe you that wee have thought fitt to Secure this 
County in the best manner wee can : ffor w'ch pur- 
pose wee have appointed a meeting at Glover Stone 
vpon Tuesday, the 17th of this Instant July, by tenn 
of the clock in the aforenoone : Att w**ch tyme and 
place wee doe earnestly desire you to meet vs, bei»g 
assured of yoV CherefuU Concurrence and assistance 
in every perticuler relating to his Ma'ties service. 
' In this Confidence wee remaine Gent', 

(Your) AflTtt freinds, 

Derby. 

R. Cholmondeley. 
' Northwich,/«/k ii/A, 1666.* Phi. Egerton. 

So that once more the ancient place of assembly of 
troops was used as the place for holding a gathering 
called together to take measures to repel invasion. 
Canon Morris points out that it was at the Glover- 
stone that the city sheriffs received from the sheriffs 
of the county, or the constable of the castle, for con- 
duct to the place of punishment, prisoners who were 
condemned to death or to be whipped. In like manner, 
when offenders were apprehended within the city for 
offences committed in the county, they were taken to the 
stone and there handed over to the county authorities. 
At this point the mayor, when he had occasion to 
come to the castle, would direct the sword and mace, 
usually carried before him, to be put down, and the 
sheriffs laid aside their white wands of office. Such a 
township must necessarily have been something of a 
thorn in the side of its neighbour the city. It had 
been a sanctuary for many years ; it was a place where 
118 



foreigners — that is, non-freemen of the city-^had set The 
up dwelling-houses and shops, plied their trades, sold Castle 
their wares and seriously competed with the freemen 
of the city, in what no doubt these last considered a 
highly illegitimate manner. Moreover, 'tiplings of 
Ale and Beere' took place there, and doubtless many 
other disorderly occurrences such as might he ex- 
pected in a place free from civic discipline, and pro- 
bably little hampered by the rule of the authorities 
of the castle. No doubt these ' tiplings ' were not 
confined to the inhabitants of Gloverstone, but were 
taken part in by the baser sort of Cestrian citizens. 
Hence many quarrels between the opposing parties, 
and the obvious necessity for bringing the township 
under the government of the municipality of Chester. 
In the first quarter of the last century the area was 
required for public improvements, and the old town- 
ship disappeared. 




CHAPTER VI 



THE ABBEY OF ST. WEKBUEGH 

THERE is consider- 
able doubt as to the 
date of the first founda- 
tion of a religious edifice 
on the site now occu- 
pied by the Cathedral of 
Chester. Mr. Hiatt thinks 
it almost certain that, 
during the later and Chris- 
tian period of the Roman 
occupation of Chester, the 
site of the cathedral was 
occupied by a church dedi- 
ated to SS Peter and Paul, which during the 
Anglo Saxon ascendency was re-dedicated to SS. 
Werburgh and Oswald. However this may be, 
there seems to have been a church here early in 
the reign of Aethelstan, for in Raine's History of 
York it is stated that, after the battle of Bninan- 
buhr, that monarch gave treasure to the shrine at 
Chester. According to some writers, Wulphere, of 
whom mention was made in the first chapter, founded 
here a nunnery of which his daughter St Werburgh 




The City was abbess. This legend , which we owe to William 
of of Malmesbury, must be dismissed as unhistorical ; 

Chester but there is more to be said for the statement that 
there was a small religious house here in Saxon 
times, perhaps a nunnery, and that to this house 
were removed the remains of St. Werburgh, which 
had been previously deposited at Hanbury in 875. 
No doubt this religious house, whatever may have 
been its character, suffered severely at the hands 
of the Danes. At any rate it was re-edified by 
the vigorous *Lady of the Mercians,' Aethelflaed, 
who set up an establishment here for secular 
canons, which was later on more fully endowed 
by Edgar, whose charter is dated 958. Leofric 
of Mercia and his wife Godgifu, better known 
under the name of Godiva, who were great bene- 
factors of religion, repaired the buildings of this 
establishment and gave further privileges to it. At 
the time of Domesday, the community held thirteen 
houses in Chester — one occupied by the warden or 
head of the body, the others by the canons. After 
the Conquest these thirteen, the pattculi clerid of 
William of Malmesbury, were ejected by Hugh Lupus, 
and the convent was handed over to the Benedictines 
to form an abbey of that order. The monks were 
bound by their charter to pray *for the soul of 
William, then king, and those of King William, his 
most noble father, his mother Queen Maud, his 
brothers and sisters. King Edward the Confessor, 
themselves the founders, and those of their fathers, 
mothers, antecessors, heirs, parents, and barons, the 
souls of all Christians, as well living as deceased.' 
Many possessions were given to the abbey by its 
founders, and it was to be independent of all other 
houses of the order. A place for a mill is granted, 

122 



also permission to the abbot to hold his own court, to The 

receive tolls, and to take all the profits of the fair Abbeyof 

at St. Werburgh's Feast for three days. In order St. Wer- 

to prevent any interference with the success of the burgh 

fair, it was also ordained that any malefactor might 

come to it and be free from arrest so long as the 

fair lasted, provided that he was not guilty of any 

new offence during that period. The Abbot's Court 

had no power of outfangtheof — that is, over thieves 

taken outside its own liberties — though this right 

belonged to the Abbey of Vale Royal. During 

the fair, it had criminal jurisdiction in all cases, 

except those of murder. Where the punishment 

was capital, the execution took place on the earl's 

gallows, but it was carried out by the officers of the 

abbot. Trial by wager of battle was sometimes 

permitted by the Abbot's Court, which within its 

own jurisdiction was equal in all respects to that 

of the earl. In his confirmation of the charter, 

Ranulph Meschines, the third earl, says that he 

came himself into the Abbot's Court with one plea, 

taking the decision from the abbot's judge, in order 

to show his respect for St. Werburgh and her abbey. 

The sentence was pronounced, says the charter, 

*non a meis sed a judiciis abbatis, ut in omnibus 

habeat beata Werburga jus suae dignitatis imper- 

petuum.' 

To continue the history of the Abbey : in the year 
in which it was founded, St. Anselm, then a monk of 
the Abbey of Bee, was at Chester, and being per- 
mitted to nominate the first abbot, placed in that 
position his own chaplain Richard. It was after his 
return from this visit that St. Anselm was made 
Archbishop of Canterbury. During the abbacy of 
Richard, the building of the Norman church must 

123 



r 



The City have been commenced. There can be little doubt 
of that it had a predecessor of stone belonging to the 

Chester Saxon period. No doubt at the early part of 
that period churches were built of wood or of 
wattle, but during the latter part many edifices 
were erected of stone, and Leofric'^s church is 
pretty certain to have been of that material. No 
person who has made any study at all of the 
churches of this island needs to be told that the 
Normans were active church-builders, and from 
the point of view of lovers of antiquity they were 
unscrupulous builders also, for they swept away, in 
most cases, all traces, at least above ground, of any 
pre-existent edifices in order to carry out a new 
plan of their own unhampered. Had there been a 
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings at 
that date, it would have had a busy time of it. So it 
comes about that whatever kind of church may have 
occupied the site of the cathedral during the Saxon 
period, there is no fragment of the existing edifice 
which can with security be said to have belonged to 
its predecessor. The new church, says Mr. Hiatt, was 
cruciform, the choir and choir aisles terminating in 
three apses, of which the central was the largest and 
most imposing. The nave was somewhat short, and 
there is no evidence of the existence of western towers. 
Each of the shallow transepts probably terminated 
apsidally. The whole building was dominated by a 
central tower. In its general aspect, he adds, the 
Norman church at Chester, as pictured by Sir Gilbert 
Scott, seems to have had many points of similarity 
with the Norman plan of Canterbury as drawn by the 
late Professor Willis. The western towers, the great 
central tower, and the eastern apsidal terminations 
of the nave and transepts, would at any rate appear 
124 



to have been common to both. At the same time The 
there were at Chester other features, such as the Abbeyof 
radiating chapels and the continuation of the aisle St. Wer- 
round the apses, which did not exist at Canterbury, burgh 
though they are found at Gloucester Cathedral, 
Tewkesbury Abbey, and other early Norman churches 
in England. The portions of the existing church 
referable to this and other periods of the history 
of the abbey will be mentioned in the chapter 
dealing with the edifice itself, so that we may 
now proceed with our account of the abbots and 
the community. 

After the death of Abbot Richard four years 
elapsed before his successor was appointed. This 
delay, which arose from the refusal of the young Earl 
Richard to nominate — a refusal dictated no doubt by 
covetous designs upon the revenues of the house — was 
thought to have been avenged by his death on the 
White Ship. Prior, however, to the first abbot's 
death, this same young earl had augmented the 
possessions and privileges of the abbey, giving it 
tithes of the salmon taken at the bridge, and tithes 
also of the earPs mill above it, together with land and 
other valuable rights. During the time of the second 
abbot the building of the church went on, what 
remains of the north-west tower of that period being 
then completed. For some time, however, the abbey 
does not seem to have made very great progress ; in 
fact, its property suffered a good deal, during the 
abbacy of Geoffrey (1194-1208), from inundations of 
the sea at Ince and on the Wirral, and from the 
depredations of the Welsh, who seized from the 
monks a valuable incumbency and two manors. At 
this time the church seems to have been in an almost 
ruinous condition, for it is described as * intolerably 

125 



r 



The City threatened with ruin, and threatening with danger 
of of death those who assisted at the divine offices."* 

Chester During GeofFrey'^s time something seems to have been 
done towards the reparation of the edifice, and still 
more was effected during the next abbacy, that of 
Hugh Grylle (1208-1226), when extensions were 
made in the direction of the Northgate, and repairs 
carried out in connection with the existing buildings. 
Thomas Capenhurst (1249-1265) held office during a 
very troublous period for the abbey, since powerful 
nobles were endeavouring at that time to seize the 
monastic possessions. There is a common belief that 
the families who were concerned in the spoliation of 
monastic property during the reign of Henry viii. 
and his successors have been unfortunate afterwards, 
and that the stolen goods of which they possessed 
themselves have turned out to be a curse and not a 
blessing. Many instances are narrated in Spelman's 
History of Sacrikge^ and many legends still attach to 
such properties and to the families which have owned 
them. According to the Chronicle of St. Werburgh 
evil fates befell those who attempted to rob the 
Mercian Saint of her rights. Roger de Montalt, 
Justice of Chester, obliged the abbey to surrender 
two manors and some other properties, but * his eldest 
son died within fifteen days. Many other notable 
misfortunes befell the said Roger not long afterwards. 
Roger himself died in poverty within two years, the 
common people being ignorant of the place of his 
burial.' Another noble, Roger de Venables, also 
attempted to secure from the abbey an advowson to 
which he had no right. * And when the said Roger 
had obtained this advowson by a wrongful verdict in 
the county court of Chester, the lord abbot proved 
that this had been gained unfairly, and recovered the 
126 



aforesaid advowson. But the said Roger died miser- The 
ably within the same year/ Still later (1263) the Abbeyof 
abbey was actually seized by William la Zouche, the St. Wer- 
Justiciary, who behaved so badly to the churchmen burgh 
of the city that they laid it under a local interdict 
for four days. The next abbot, one of the most 
celebrated in the list, was Simon de Albo Monasterio, 
or of Whitchurch (1265-1289). At the time of his 
election to the abbacy Simon de Montfort was in 
power at Chester, and Lucas de Taney was his 
Justiciary. Lucas prevented the abbot-elect from 
being properly instituted, and took the revenues of 
the abbey into his own hands, in order to spend them 
upon his own gratification. When this state of 
things came to the knowledge of Simon de Montfort, 
having ascertained that the election had been canoni- 
cally carried out, he caused the abbot to be instituted, 
and ordered that 'all the goods of St. Werburgh 
that had been consumed by him, with all the 
revenues of the monastery during the vacancy, should 
be restored to the abbot-elect.' On the fall of de 
Montfort the unhappy abbot found himself in trouble 
with Prince Edward for having accepted institution 
at the hands of his enemy. However, Simon, the 
abbot, was a man of tact in dealing with his fellow- 
men, and having gone to see the prince at Beeston 
Castle, he not only made his peace, but obtained, 
compensation for all the goods of which he had been 
despoiled by the royal servants. The favour which 
he then gained with the prince was increased when 
the latter came to the throne. The abbot assisted 
him in an expedition into Wales against Llewelyn, 
and obtained a very important addition to the privi- 
leges of the abbey, namely, a precept that the 
charters were not to be infringed. Later in his reign, 

127 




The City the king gave leave to the abbot to hunt everywhere 
of in the Forest of Delamere (de la Mara) and to take 

Chester six harts and six hinds. He also ordered that 
venison from the same forest and from that of Wirral 
should be sent to the abbey * for the support of the 
monks then occupied in the great work of building 
up the church.' It was, in fact, at this time that the 
east arm of the church and the lady-chapel were 
erected. By this means a profound alteration, as 
pointed out by Sir Gilbert Scott, was made in the 
arrangements of the Norman church. The apsidal 
altar end, with continuous aisle and radiating chapels, 
was replaced by a prolonged, square-ended choir with 
parallel aisles. The lady-chapel, which was the first 
part of the new work to be erected, took the place of 
the central of the three original chapels, whilst the 
two lateral were replaced by apsidal chapels at the 
ends of the aisles. The high altar was placed a bay 
short of the east end, a screen crossing the church 
from pillar to pillar, behind which was an ambulatory 
• which gave access to the lady-chapel itself. During 

the same abbacy there was a prolonged struggle with 
the citizens as to the fair on St. John Baptist's Day, 
which was finally settled by an agreement drawn up 
before Reginald de Gray, the Justice, the Prior of 
Birkenhead, and others. As it affords a very good 
example of the kind of disputes which followed upon 
the divided jurisdictions or liberties in the same city, 
the following account may be extracted from Canon 
Morris's book : — * The abbot claimed for his convent 
to hold the fair on St. John Baptist's Day, before the 
Abbey Gate ; not only near the gate in the convent's 
own booths, but elsewhere in the street near the 
abbey, and that all articles for sale should be exposed 
there, and nowhere else during the fair. The mayor 
128 



K 



and citizens disputed this claim, contending that they The 
were at liberty to sell goods anywhere else in the city Abbey of 
during the fair as they pleased. It was agreed that St. Wer- 
the citizens should have and hold the fairs, and erect burgh 
booths and stalls {selde et ementoria) yearly at fair- 
time, in the place extending from the gate of the 
cemetery to the houses of the abbot under the 
cemetery wall, and also opposite those booths and 
elsewhere in the street as they pleased, saving only 
the part which lay between the Abbey Gate and the 
Cemetery Gate. These stalls were to be erected so as 
not to interfere with access to the abbey buildings, 
and were to be removed immediately after the end of 
the fair. The abbot agreed for the convent that 
during the course of the fair which they held in the 
street near the abbey, they would not let any of their 
stalls or booths to any traders of the city as long as 
the stalls erected by the citizens remained unlet, but 
they were at liberty to let to foreign traders, and 
even to the city traders, if the booths erected by the 
citizens were insufficient. The abbot further conceded 
to the citizens the right of "stallage" in fair time 
yearly throughout the city, in return for an annual 
payment to the abbey of 46s. 8d.' No further 
incident in the history of the abbey claims attention 
until the period of office of William de Bebyngton or 
Bynyngton, who having been previously prior, suc- 
ceeded to the higher office, which he held tor twenty- 
five years, in 1324. During his time the abbey 
secured two great privileges. In the first place, it 
became a 'mitred' abbey — that is to say, its abbot 
became possessed of the right to wear a mitre and to 
pontificate in his own abbey, in fact, to what may be 
described as semi-episcopal functions. This privilege 
at once lifted an abbey from the general ruck of 
I 129 




The City religious houses into the first rank. It was followed 
of by the additional privilege, sometimes given to the 

Chester greater houses, of exemption from the bishop's visita- 
tion. The next abbot was Richard de Seynesbury, 
who succeeded to the mitre in 1349. His period of 
office was a troubled one, but this time the troubles 
seem to have arisen from the turbulence of the abbot 
himself and from his aggressive conduct rather than 
from the malice of outsiders. At the end, in 1362, 
the Provincial President of the Benedictines, who was 
Abbot of St. Albans, with his sub-prior and the Prior 
of Coventry, visited the abbey under a commission 
issued by the Abbot of Evesham. Richard seems to 
have felt that there was no defence to be made foi* 
his conduct, so he sent his resignation to the Pope. 
Of the abbots who succeeded him there is not much 
to be said. In the very next abbacy, the right of 
exemption from episcopal visitation, which had been 
recently conceded, was revoked by Pope Urban, 
sufficient proof of the fact that all was not satis- 
factory within the abbey. It is not until we arrive 
at 1485 that we come to an abbacy during which 
distinct advances were made in connection with the 
buildings. This was during the seven years of office 
of Simon Ripley, the twenty-third abbot. He 
brought to an end the work which had been com- 
menced a century before by Richard de Seynesbury ; 
he rebuilt the upper part of the nave and also the 
manor-house belonging to the abbey at Saighton. 
This abbot died at Warwick on the 30th of August 
1492, and was buried there in St. Mary's Church. 
On the north side of the large north-east pillar, 
supporting the central tower of the abbey church, 
there are still some traces of a representation of the 
Transfiguration, in which was introduced a figure of 

130 



n 



this abbot under a canopy, with a book in one hand, The 
and the other lifted up in the act of blessing, the Abbeyof 
ring upon the fourth finger. John Birchenshaw, who St. Wer- 
succeeded Ripley, was involved in a serious quarrel burgh 
with the civic authorities, whose power had been 
waxing as that of the convent had been waning. For 
a time he was actually deprived of his abbacy, but 
was again restored to his former position. Shortly 
afterwards we find him engaged in a dispute with the 
Bishop of Lichfield, in whose diocese the abbey was, 
as to the abbatial right to the use of the mitre, the 
pastoral stafi^*, and other pontificals, and as to the 
power of giving the benediction. This dispute hav- 
ing been referred to Rome, a commission was issued 
to Cardinal Wolsey to hear and decide the question. 
On Birchenshaw''s death, or perhaps resignation (for it 
is not certain which), in 15S7, licence was given for 
the election of another abbot, and the place was filled 
by Thomas Clarke, who had been a monk of the 
abbey. Possibly his election was prearranged with 
the King, as in other instances of the same kind else- 
where, for he immediately surrendered the abbey. 
As his reward he received, as other persons of the 
same kind did in other places, the first position as 
dean of the new cathedral establishment. At the 
time of its dissolution the revenues of the abbey were 
estimated as being worth d£^1003, 5s. lid. per annum. 
Canon Morris sums up the possessions and privileges 
belonging to the great Benedictine Abbey which for 
so many years had played an important part in the 
history of Chester. Richly endowed, he says, with 
fair lands in various parts of Cheshire, especially in 
the Wirral peninsula, the patronage of valuable 
rectories, one-fourth part of the city of Chester itself, 
and a considerable tract of the most desirable pro- 

131 




The City perty in the immediate neighbourhood, forming an 
of almost unbroken ring round the city, the abbey could 

Chester not fail to occupy a commanding influence in the 
Palatinate. The influence arising from its extensive 
property was increased by the lavish hospitality 
exercised by successive abbots, who devoted the 
endowments of rectories and lands, the tithes of 
mills, etc., to the maintenance of kitchen and 
pantry. Not only did they entertain kings and 
archbishops on the occasion of their visiting and 
passing through Chester, but great nobles, brother 
abbots, besides the inferior clergy, and ordinary 
wayfarers, were constantly guests at St. Wer- 
burgh's, and entertained in most generous fashion. 
The abbey, with its circuit of walls and barred 
gates, was a place of considerable strength. The 
abbot, by reason of his sacred office and the large 
possessions of his convent, was more influential than 
any but the highest nobles of the land. His manor- 
houses of Saighton and Ince, to which he would make 
from time to time stately progress, were strongly 
fortified. About Saighton and Huntington Abbot 
Birchenshaw had formed a noble park, and he had 
extensive warrens elsewhere. Many considerable 
families held lands bv tenure of various offices, 
amongst them his master-cook, who held large pro- 
perty in Wirral. The valuable rectory of Ince was 
appropriated to the use of his almoner. No less a 
person than the Earl of Derby was his seneschal in 
1 Henry viii., and down to the time of the dissolu- 
tion, with a salary of 40s. The Lord of Burwardesley 
held his manor as the abbofs champion, and was 
bound on occasion to stand forward in the Abbot's 
Court and do battle in defence of the convent rights 
and claims. At the Chester Fair, which was 
132 



K 



originally the right of the abbey, not of the city, The 
the abbot had exclusive criminal jurisdiction in Abbeyof 
all cases except trials for murder, as has already St. Wer- 
been mentioned. He held his own courts, at burgh 
which more than one of the line of mighty 
Norman earls consented to plead, and the tenants 
of his manors for centuries rendered suit and service 
at St. Thomas's Court, on the south side of the Abbey 
Gate. 

The half-yearly court for the manor of St. Thomas, 
held by the abbot, was continued by the dean and 
chapter, as the successors to his property, as late as 
the middle of the last century. Tne chapter had 
stocks of their own, and a cucking-stool for the 
punishment of any scolds within their jurisdiction. 
Some of the entries in the register of this court are 
curious, as showing a continuity of jurisdiction ; and 
perhaps we may be pardoned if we digress for a 
moment in order to quote a few of them, taken from 
a 'View of Frankpledge "cum curia'' of the Dean and 
Chapter of the Cathedral Church of Christ and 
Blessed Mary the Virgin, held for the manor afore- 
said, on Weonesday, to wit, the S5th day of October 
1693, before Robert Ffoulkes, gent, seneschal there.' 
'We present Richard Thomason, for not removing 
his midding and cleansing his watercourse in the 
Northgate street, and doe Amercie him in the sum 
of 3s. 4d., betwixt and Christmas next, if the said 
midding be not removed and the watercourse cleansed 
before this day three weeks, w'*ch is a great Anuciance 
of William RansfonL' So that strict justice may be 
meted out to all parties, we find the dean and 
chapter coming under the censure of their own court. 
* We present the Deane and Chapter for not repairing 
the Court-house ; and also for a I>un/^ill before i}ie 

133 



/n 



The City Regester office, and we do Amercie them in 18s. 4d.'* 
of At another court the dean and chapter were ' Amer- 

Chester cied' one shilling for not keeping the stocks in 
order. The property of the dean and chapter were 
looked after by this court, for we find them present- 
ing 'Mrs. Swift, Widdow, for suffering p''te of her 
house in the Abbey Court, w''ch she holas from the 
Deane and Chapter, to goe to ruine and decay ; and 
we order her to repaire the same before the next 
Court Leet to be held for this Manner, upon paine of 
Six pound.' 'Mrs. Swift, Widdow,' seems to have 
been a troublesome person, and a careless one too, for 
in the entries transcribed in the Cheshire Sheafs she 
is twice presented for neglecting to take proper 
care of the Abbey Well, and on one occasion is 
ordered to keep it 'duely inclosed, to pVent the 
danger of p'sons being drowned or hurt in the 
s'd Well.' Except the stocks and the cucking- 
stool, it does not appear that any of the criminal 
jurisdiction of the abbot had devolved upon the 
holders of his houses and lands; but the jurisdic- 
tion was held under the privileges which had once 
been his. 

The conventual buildings occupied, as above 
mentioned, nearly one-fourth of the city. They 
were bounded by the city walls on the north and 
east, and, perhaps with some exceptions, by North- 
gate and Eastgate Streets on the remaining sides. 
The principal entrance was from Northgate Street, 
through the great Abbey Gate, which still exists. A 
licence to crenellate his gates and boundary walls was 
obtained in 1377 by the abbot, from which, and 
from the character of architecture of the lower part 
of the edifice, it would appear that its building took 
place in the fourteenth century. It is true that in 

134 



iii 



the Vale Royal there is a statement, under date The 
1590, that ' the gate near unto the office door of the Abbeyof 
Abbey Court was begun the 26th of April, and was St. Wer- 
finished the 19th of May following.** It is hardly burgh 
conceivable that such a gateway could have been 
built in so short a time. The entry in question 
probably refers to alterations made at that period, 
perhaps to the building of the upper part of the 
edifice. There was a porter'^s lodge on the right 
hand of the gate, entered by a doorway, now blocked 
up. On the other side was St. Thomas's Court. The 
scheme for the Bishopric of Chester clearly contem- 
plates the keeping up of this gate, for provision was 
made for ' ii porters to kepe the gates and shave the 
company ; xii IL per annum,' a somewhat remarkable 
combination of duties. This gateway led into a 
space nearly co-extensive with the present Abbey 
Square. This was surrounded on three sides by the 
offices of the convent. On the fourth side was the 
abbot's house, afterwards the Bishop's Palace, of 
which some parts still remain at the north-west 
corner of the cathedral. In the north-east angle 
of this square was St. Thomas's Chapel, where the 
dean's house now stands. In the north-west angle 
was another entrance from the city by the Little 
Abbey Gate. There was a passage through the 
walls to the kitchen-gardens belonging to the abbey, 
by the Kale- Yard Gate, which has already been 
described. East of the refectory, which with the 
other abbey buildings, still in existence, will be 
described in connection with the cathedral, was 
another quadrangle, nearly co-extensive with the 
later Abbey Court, now a space lying between Abbey 
Street, the cathedral, and the refectory. This was 
probably occupied by the domestics. South-west of 

135 



r 



The City the great church was the Chapel of St. Nicholas, 
of which was detached from the general mass of the 

Chester buildings, and occupied the position of the present 
Music Hall. Many memories linger round the Great 
Gate of the abbey, shown in the tailpiece to this 
chapter. In front of it the booths were erected for 
the merchants frequenting the abbot's fair. These 
were covered with reeds, and the abbey had a special 
charter enabling its occupants to obtain the mate- 
rials for this purpose from Stanlaw Marsh. It 
was in front of this gate also that the performers 
of the Chester Mysteries commenced the display 
of their pageants. Finally, George Marsh, burnt 
at Chester for heresy, is said to have been con- 
fined, prior to his martjrrdom, in a chamber over 
this gate. 

In the square and close to the gate seems to have 
been a large pond, called the Horse Pool, where the 
horses of those belonging to or visiting the abbey 
could be watered. In 1523 there was an inquisition 
made by the coroners of the city as to the death of a 
man drowned in this pond : * Upon view of the Body 
of Roger Ledsham, Keeper of the Great Gate of the 
Abbey of St. Werburgh, lately drowned in a certain 
pit, called " The Horse pole,'' near to the said gate of 
the Abbey aforesaid.' The jury * say on their Oath 
that the said Roger Ledsham, on Thursday, in 
the vigil of the Circumcision of our Lord in the 
year aforesaid, was drowned by simple misfortune 
in the pit called " le horse pole," and so killed 
on the day above named by accident and not other- 
wise.' In the Chapter Records it is stated, under 
date 1584, that there was paid 'To Hugh Skinner, 
for the cariage of the filth before the Gate, to 
fill the hole in ye Court, viij lodes at ijd. the 
136 




lode xvjd.' This we may supponc wm ilic ncwuml. 'Ilii' 
for filling up ' le horse pole, which thcii Miwnl AhlM'vnf 
to exist. St. Wi-r- 

liiirgli 




CHAPTER VII 



THE ANCIEKT AND MODERN SEES OF CHESTER 



CHESTER formed at 
first a part of the 
'^ liuge Mercian diocese, of 
^^ which St. Chad was bishop. 
The bishop )iad his chair at 
Lichfield, but the diocese 
itself covered an enormous 
area, including, in fact, a 
large portion of the north- 
ern and western districts 
of England. Though tbe 
bishops of this see had 
their main place of resi- 
'"■«) dence at Lichfield, yet it 
seems that there were also, 
at quite an early date, cathedrals at Coventry 
and at Chester. Mr. Hiatt quotes from a work 
by Sir Peter Leycester, entitled ' Some Anti- 
quities touching Cheshire, faithfully collected out 
of Authentique Histories, old Deeds, Records, and 
Evidences,'' the statement that ' he finds no mention 
of a Bishop of Chester before the Norman Conquest, 
139 




r 



The City only we read that Devina, a Scotchman, was made 
of Bishop of Mercia by King Oswy, whereof Cheshire 

Chester was a small parcel, and that he had his seat at 
Lichfield, anno Christi 656, from which time there 
remained a succession of bishops in that see until 
by doom of canon law all bishops were to remove 
to the greatest cities in their diocese. And there- 
upon Peter, Bishop of Lichfield, anno Domini 1075, 
removed his seat from Lichfield to Chester, and 
was commonly styled Bishop of Chester/ After 
the Norman Conquest, the bishops seem to have 
oscillated between the three cities above-mentioned. 
In Chester, the Collegiate Church of St. John the 
Baptist was the early cathedral, so that Chester has 
still standing two edifices which have held this 
dignity. 

At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries, 
Henry viii. at first conceived a scheme for uniting 
the two abbeys of Chester and Wenlock in Shrop- 
shire, into a kind of joint collegiate establishment. 
The draft of this scheme for ' Chestre cum Wenlock ' 
has been published in the Cheshire Sheaf, It in- 
cludes the provision of a * provost of the CoUeage,' 
who was to be paid £4:0 per annum, four prebend- 
aries, a reader in *dyvynytie,^ a ' Scholemaster to 
teache gramer and logike in the greke and laten 
tonge freely,' an ' ussher,' four ' petycanons,' four men 
and six boy choristers, a master of the children, a 
Gospeller and 'a Pystoler.'* Twenty- three scholars 
were to be on the foundation, alms were to be given 
to a certain amount to the poor, and other monies 
were to be expended *in mendying wayes.' More- 
over, *xii pore men decayed by warres or in the 
kynges service, every of them to have xxd. the weke, 
whiche amountith to every one of them in the yere 
140 



iiii li, vi s. viii d., in all lii IV This scheme was, how- 
ever, entirely abandoned. Wenlock was handed over 
to lay impropriators, and its ruins are now one of the 
many glories of Shropshire. A scheme for a new 
see at Chester was then added to those other plans 
for the increase of the episcopate which came into 
effect after the rupture of the king with the old 
religion. No doubt Henry was amply justified in 
subdividing the enormous diocese of which Chester 
had formed a part. Even after this division the area 
allotted to Chester was all too large, and has since, 
more than once, required further division. Meantime 
it will be interesting to examine Henry's scheme for 
the new bishopric, as printed also in the Sheaf. 
The items of this scheme are worth printing in 
extenso^ since they afford an interesting example of 
the reorganisation which took place in certain in- 
stances in the midst of the general spoliation which 
was going on at this period. The draft which, it 
may be added, is in the king's own handwriting, is 
in the Public Record Office. 



The 

Ancient 
and 

Modern 
Sees of 
Chester 



Cftester 



Fyrst a Deane for the corps of his pro- 
1 • . . «. 



pro-^ 
svii lt>cli 
xiii li j 



cxx li 



motion ..... xxvii 
Item iiii s by day . . . Ixxiii 

Item vi prebendaryes, ech of them in corps \ 

vii li xvi s viii d , . . Ixxiii li \ 
Item to eche of theym vii d by day in divi- [ 

dent xii li iii s iiii d . . Ixxii li / 

Item a Reder in divinitye. (No salary set down for 

this office.) 

141 



r^ 



The City Item iiii studentes in divinitie, wherof ii to be founde 
of at Oxford and ii at Cambridge, every of them 

Chester vi Ii xiii s iiii d . . xxvi Ii xiii s iv d 

Item xxiiii 'ti scolers to be taught grammer, every of 
theym iii Ii vi s viii d . , , Ixxx Ii 

Item a scholemaister xvi Ii xiii s iv d, and an ussher 
viii Zi . . . . xxiiii Ii xii s iv d 

Item vi peticanons to sing in the quyr, every of 
theym to have yerely vi Ii xii s iiii d , Ix Ii 

Item vi singyng men to serve the quyr, every of 
theym vi Ii xiii s iiii d . . - . x\ U 

Item viii Choristers, every of them iii Ii vi s viii d 
yerely .... xxvi Ii xiii s iiii d 

Item a maister of the children . . . x Ii 

Item a Gospeller viii Zi, a pisteler viii /*, ii Sextens 
xii Zi ...... xxviii Ii 

Item vi old men, beyng old servying men decayed by 
Warres or in the kynges servyce, every of theym 
to have vi Ii xiii s iiii d by the yere . xl Ii 

Item to be distributed in Almes among poor house- 
holders yerely xx Ii 

Item for yerely Reparations of the church and 
manours ...... c Ii 

Item to be employed in makyng and mendyng of 
highwayes yerly . . . . . xx Ii 

Item to a Stuard of landes vi Ii xiii s iiii d^ and to an 
Auditor x Ii . . . xvi Ii xiii ^ iv d 

Item ii porters to kepe the gates and shave the com- 
pany . . . . . . . xii Zi 

Item to oon butteler for his diete and wages vi Zi, 
oone cheif Cooke for his wages and diete vi Ii, 
and oon Under Cooke for hys wages and diete 
iii Z vi * viii d . . . xv Ii \i s viii d 

Item for the deanes expenses in recey ving — and sur- 
veying the landes . . . . . xl Zi 
142 



Item to a Cater, for his wages and diete, and for 
makying of the booke of accomptes . vi li 

Item in extraordinary chargis . . . xx /* 

vii'clxxvi li 



Sum of all chargis 



It is perhaps hardly necessary to say that consider- 
able modifications have been made in this scheme 
since it was first drawn up. The six prebendaries 
have become four canons ; the reader in divinity, the 
Gospeller and EpistoUer, and the four students to 
be maintained at Oxford and Cambridge, have all 
disappeared. So have the porters who combined 
the duty of barbers, the butler and the chief and 
under cooks. The alms to be distributed amongst 
poor householders no longer are available for their 
original purpose, nor is anytliing disbursed for the 
making and mending of highways. Moreover, the 
huge diocese has undergone several curtailments. 
In the reign of William iv. that part of the dio- 
cese which was in Yorkshire was given to the see 
of Ripon, then constituted ; Westmoreland and 
the northern part of Lancashire were added to 
Carlisle ; and a portion of North Wales was 
taken away from the English to be added to a 
Welsh diocese. The establishment of bishoprics in 
Manchester and Liverpool further diminished the 
area of the diocese, until it came to include, as it 
now does, only the county of which Chester is the 
principal city. 

As already mentioned, the first dean of the newly 
constituted cathedral was the last abbot of the 
ancient monastery, Thomas Clarke. He apparently 
occupied his post for about a year, for m 1542 
Henry Man, his successor, is receiving the emoluments 
of the position. In Clark e'*s will, which was made 

143 



The 

Ancient 
and 

Modem 
Sees of 
Chester 




The City shortly after he had been appointed dean, he directs 
of ' that xlZi. xij*. ijd. shall be expended on his funeral, 

Chester and for that sum a very handsome display ought to 
have been procured. He bequeathes his ' sole vnto 
Almighty e God, creator and maker off this world, 
owr Ladye Saynt Marye, and vnto all the hollye com- 
panye off heaue**, and his bodye to be buryed beffore 
the highe altar w'tin the quire off ye seyd cathedrall 
churche.' The first bishop was John Bird, D.D., who 
after having been Provincial of the Carmelites, was 
made Bishop of Bangor. He preached before Henry viii. 
in 1537, and having in his discourse attacked the 
supremacy of the Pope, so pleased the king as to 
secure the Bishopric of Chester when that see was 
created. Having married, he was deprived of the 
see during the reign of Queen Mary, and subsequently 
became Vicar of Dunmow, where he is believed to 
have died. Cotys or Cotes, the first Marian bishop, 
only held the see for two years. It was during his 
episcopate that Marsh suffered martyrdom. On 
Cotys**s death Cuthbert Scott, who had been Vice- 
Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and was 
a somewhat distinguished scholar, succeeded to the 
see. He was deprived by Queen Elizabeth. Amongst 
later bishops there are a few whose names merit 
special notice. John Bridgeman, a graduate of Cam- 
bridge, afterwards President of Magdalen College, 
Oxford, was consecrated in 1619. He was the father 
of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the Lord Keeper. In 
1623 he issued a series of 'Injunctions set down in 
the Chapter House of the Cathedral Church of 
Chester, and decreed to be observed by the Dean 
and Prebendaries of the same Church, and by every 
member thereof.' From these it may be gathered 
that the arrangements for carrying on the services 
144 



were in a somewhat disorderly state, and that in other 
ways things were in a condition loudly calling for 
reform. The first injunction commences by asserting 
that ' the absence of the Dean and Chapter of this 
Church is the cause of much disorder and negligence 
in other members,** and lays down certain rules for 
the attendance of the prebendaries, with fines for 
those who do not fulfil their duties. In another we 
read that ' because the great negligence of the petty 
Canons or Singing Men hath done much wrong to 
God's service, and brought the Church into contempt 
and obloquy, it is decreed and strictly enjoyned every 
member of the Quire, namely, the petty Canons, 
clerks, organist, and choristers, that from hence- 
forth they do not absent themselves from Divine 
service any day (above six weeks in one year, 
which are allowed them for their necessary occasions 
to be absent), upon pain of ^d. to be forfeited 
by him that shall be absent for every service in 
this Church. And every one of them that shall 
come tardy after the Confession is said, or goe out 
before the end of divine service, shall forfeit Id. 
for every such default. And because tlie defects of 
the organist, or his neglect in tutoring the choristers, 
hath unsufFerably impeached and impaired the service 
of God, and almost utterly spoyled the children, he 
is therefore (besides the censure now to be laid upon 
him) admonished to present reformation ; with pro- 
testation that if sensible amendment be not found in 
the education of the choristers before Michaelmas 
next, he shall then be utterly deprived of his place 
in the Church, and another put therein.' It is also 
ordained that the wages of the cook, butler, cater, 
baker, and other officials non-existent, should be 
divided amongst the petty canons and singing-men 
K 145 



The 

Ancient 

and 

Modern 

Sees of 

Chester 



n 



The City whose pay it appears was thought to be much too 
of small. The 'sacrilegious and ravenous disposition 

Chester of those who have formerly been members of this 
Church' makes it necessary that in appointing a 
receiver or treasurer, care should be taken to secure 
an honest man. It is suggested that better houses 
should be provided for the prebendaries, those in 
which they were living being 'base, little, noysom, 
and unfit for habitation both in regard of site, roome, 
decay, and manner of building.'* Complaint is further 
made of the uses to which some of the buildings in 
the Abbey Court are put, and that the ' Gatehouse 
is become a receptacle of many disorderly people 
of the city and others, who, taking themselves 
to be exempted from the power of the city do 
resort thither, and much wrong themselves and 
discredit the Government of the Church by their 
immoderate drinking, gaming, and other wicked 
expense of time.** Altogether it would appear as 
if much laxity had crept into the management 
of the affairs of the cathedral. Bridgeman was 
Bishop of Chester for thirty-three years, but during 
the latter part of this time, having been driven 
from his palace, he lived at Moreton, in Shrop- 
shire, the home also of his son Orlando. There he 
died, and was buried in Kinnersley Church. John 
Wilkhis^ bom in 1614, had been Warden of Wadhara 
College, Oxford. He was brother-in-law to Oliver 
Cromwell, having married his sister Kobina. From 
this it may be supposed, as indeed was the case, that, 
at the time of the Great Rebellion, he threw in his 
lot with the Parliamentarian party. During the 
protectorate of Richard Cromwell, Wilkins was made 
Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. The Restora- 
tion did not ruin him, though such a result might 
146 




have been expected, for during the reign of Charles ii. 
he was made first Dean of Kipon, and afterwards, in 
1668, Bishop of Chester. He was a man of consider- 
able gifts in the direction of what was then called 
natural philosophy, and did much to advance the 
study of astronomy. One of his books is entitled 
' Mercury, or the secret and swift Messenger, shewing 
how a man may with privacy and speed communicate 
his thoughts to friends at any distance.^ In this 
there is what reads like a curious anticipation of the 
idea of the electric telegraph, perhaps even of wireless 
telegraphy, which may have been his own or may 
have been quoted from Famianus Strada, to whom 
he refers in his text. *Let there be two needles 
provided, of an equal length and bignesse, being both 
of them touched with the same loadstone. Let the 
letters of the Alphabet be placed in the circles on 
which they are moved, as the points of the compasse 
under the needle of the Mariner**s Chart. Let the 
friend that is to travaile take one of them with him, 
first agreeing upon the dayes and hours, wherein 
they should conferre together: At which times if 
one of them move the needle of his instrument 
to any letter of the Alphabet, the other needle, 
by a Sympathetic, will move unto the same letter 
in the other instrument though they be never 
so farre distant. And thus by severall motions 
of the needle to the letters, they may easily make 
up any words or sense which they have a mind 
to expresse.' Another of Wilkins''s works is en- 
titled 'The Discovery of a New World, or a 
Discourse, tending to prove that there may be 
another habitable Worla in the Moon, with a Dis- 
course concerning the Possibility of a Passage 
thither.' 

147 



The 

Ancient 

and 

Modern 

Sees of 

Chester 




The City John Pearson (1672-1686), the author of the well- 
of known Exposition of the Creeds holds a high place 

Chester amongst the fathers of the Anglican Church. Before 
becoming Bishop of Chester, he had been preacher of 
St. Clement's Church in Eastcheap. It was while 
holding this appointment that he composed the work 
just mentioned. Subsequently he was Master of 
Jesus College, Cambridge, Lady Margaret Professor 
of Theology and Master of Trinity College. Accord- 
ing to Burnet, his mind entirely failed before his 
death, so * that he became a child some years before 
he died.' Samuel Peploe^ who was made bishop in 
1726, is the hero of an incident said to have been 
accountable for his subsequent promotion. During 
' The Fifteen ' he was Vicar of Preston. Whilst that 
town was occupied by the Jacobite soldiery, Peploe 
was in the habit of reading prayers every day in 
public and duly reciting the petition for King 
George. On one occasion, a Jacobite soldier who 
was present drew his sword and threatened to kill 
Peploe if he prayed for the usurper. The valorous 
cleric, nothing aaunted, replied, 'Soldier, do your 
duty, and I will do mine,' and continued the service, 
including the obnoxious prayer, as if nothing had 
been said. The threat of the soldier, perhaps never 
seriously meant, was certainly not carried out. After 
the discomfiture of the Jacobites, the tale was brought 
to the ears of George i. It appears to have made an 
impression even upon that monarch, who is reported 
to have said, when told of Peploe's courage and 
loyalty, * Peplow, Peplow ; he shall peep high and be 
a bishop.' As an immediate reward he was made 
Warden of the Collegiate Church at Manchester. 
Subsequently the king fulfilled his promise and made 
him Bishop of Chester. Bhmfield^ afterwards Bishop 
148 




of London, Sumner^ afterwards Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and JacoBson^ who forms one of 
Dean Burgon**s band of 'Good Men,^ with Bishop 
Stubbs^ afterwards of Oxford, are names on the 
episcopal roll of Chester which should not be 
passed over without mention. At least two musi- 
cians, formerly connected with the cathedral, must 
also not be allowed to pass unrecorded. Thomas 
Bateson was organist of the cathedral in 1599, 
and also master of the choristers. He was one of 
the greatest composers of madrigals, and in 1604 
produced his first set, which he compared to * young 
birds feared out of their nest before they be well 
feathered.** The title runs : — ' The first set of English 
Madrigales to 3, 4, 5 and 6 voices. Newly composed 
by Thomas Bateson, practitioner in the Art of 
Musicke and Organiste of the Cathedral Church of 
Christ in the Citie of Chester, 1604. In London, 
Printed by Thomas Este.** By the time his ' Second 
Set ' of madrigals came to be published he had left 
Chester for Dublin, for on the title-page of this 
latter work he is described as ' Bachelor of Musick, 
Organist and Master of the Children of the Cathedral 
Church of the Blessed Trinity, Dublin.' Francis 
Pilkington^ Bachelor of Music of Lincoln College, 
Oxford, in 1595, was a singing-man or chorister of 
Chester Cathedral in 1602, and published a work 
entitled 'The First Booke of Songs or Ayres of 4 
parts ; with Table ture for the Lute or Orpherion, 
with the Violl de Gamba; newly composed by F. 
Pilkington, Bachelor of Musicke, and Lutenist : and 
one of the Cathedrall Church of Christ, in the Citie 
of Chester. London : Printed by T. Este, dwelling 
in Aldersgate-Streete, and are ther to be sould, 1605.' 
Whilst on the subject of composers, a third may be 

149 



The 

Ancient 

and 

Modem 

Sees of 

Chester 




The City added to the list in the person of the once-celebrated 
of WiUiam Lawes^ though his connection with the 

Chester cathedral is confined to its being his place of burial. 
Law^s came of a musical family, for nis father was 
a vicar-choral at Salisbury, and his brother was the 
composer of the music for Milton's Comtis^ and 
subsequently of the Coronation Anthem for Charles ir. 
William Lawes was the composer of the music for 

* A collection of Psalms for three voices, set to the 
well-known paraphrase by Sandys,' a work twice 
alluded to by Pepys in his Diary. During the Civil 
War, Lawes took up arms for the king, and attained 
to the rank of a captain. In order to ensure his 
safety. Lord Gerard made him a commissary; but 
the precaution was in vain, for he was killed at the 
siege of Chester in 1645. It is said that the king 
was so distressed at this event that he * put on par- 
ticular mourning for his dear servant, William Lawes, 
whom he commonly called the Father of Music' 
Herrick has a poem on this composer amongst his 

* Encomiastic Verses.' 



UPON MR. WILLIAM LAWES, THE RARE 

MUSICIAN 

Should I not put on blacks^ when each one here 

Comes with his cypress, and devotes a tear } 

Should I not grieve, my Lawes, when every lute. 

Viol, and voice is, by thy loss struck mute ? 

Thy loss, brave man ! whose numbers have been hurl'd 

And no less prais'd than spread throughout the world : 

Some have thee call'd Amphion ; some of us 

Nam'd thee Terpander, or sweet Orpheus ; 

Some this, some that, but all in this agree. 

Music had both her birth and death with thee. 

ISO 



Lawes was buried in Chester Cathedral, but it does l^e 
not appear that any monument was erected to indi- Ancient 
cate the whereabouts of his remains. and 

Modem 
Sees of 
Cliester 




r^ 



CHAPTER VIII 



CHESTKll CAT 

THE Cathedral of 
Chester can claim no 
special eminence amongst 
its sisters in the land- 
indeed, leaving the Welsh 
edifices aside, Chester, as a 
whole, is perhaps one of 
the least striking amongst 
those churches which con- 
tain episcopal thrones. 
Its exterior is that of a 
E RESTORATioK modem church from the 
excessive amount of re- 
storation which has taken place — in justiw it 
must be said, inevitably taken place. It is singu- 
larly devoid of ornaments of interest, and it has 
sufiered sorely at the hands of generous donors within. 
Such is the evil which may be spoken of the church ; 
and this being said, it may be at once admitted that 
the monastic buildings attached are of the first in- 
terest, and that the cathedral itself contains hosts 
of details worthy of careful study and attention. 
Those who desire to obtain a good general idea of 
'53 




The City the exterior should mount the wall at the Eastgate, 
of . and in a few yards to the south will find the best 

Chester general view of the building (see Frontispiece). From 
this or from any other point of view no observer who 
was told that he was looking at a church of the late 
nineteenth century would have very much reason to 
be surprised, for the exterior is in fact perfectly new, 
at present painfully new, though it is expected that 
no very great number of years will be required to 
tone down the freshness of its appearance. From the 
point of view suggested it will be seen that Chester 
possesses a single central tower, which was, in all 
probability, intended to carry a spire, an addition 
which was never carried out. It was at one time 
supposed that the lower parts of the piers carrying 
this tower were of the Norman period, but this 
theory was demolished by the discovery that floriated 
tombstones of the thirteenth century had been used 
as the footing of one of them, the mediaeval architects 
thus unconsciously following an example set them by 
their Roman predecessors. It should be noted that the 
parapet, pinnacles, and turrets at the comers of the 
tower are the outcome of Sir Gilbert Scotfs imagina- 
tion, the building upon which he worked having, as 
may be seen in pictures of the same, nothing but a 
plain parapet (see initial to this chapter). From the 
same point should be noted the great south transept, 
once the church for the parish of St. Oswald, and the 
singular pyramidal roof of the south aisle of the 
choir, also due to Sir G. Scott, as will be more fully 
pointed out when the interior of this part of the 
building is described. A short distance further along 
the walls affords other views of the edifice which should 
certainly be seen, though, in the opinion of the present 
writer, none of them are as good as that which the 

1 54 



visitor first confrouts on approaching the building in Chester 
the manner suggested above. The west end of the Cathe- 
cathedral is possessed of no very striking features^ dral 
differing thus from edifices like Wells and Lichfield. 
It must, however, be remembered that the original 
intention appears to have been that there should be 
two western towers, the addition of which would 
have converted this part of the clmrch into a very 
striking piece of architecture. Instead of the towers 
we find tacked on to this part of the church the 
King's School, a modern edifice, the conjunction of 
which with the cathedral appears to be of advan- 
tage to neither. The school owes its foundation to 
Henry viii., a figure of whom is over the principal door- 
way. The church is entered by the south-west porch, 
a piece of Tudor architecture carrying a parvise, now 
used as a muniment-room. On leaving tne porch for 
the church it will be noticed how much lower the floor 
is than the exterior level. On the left, i.e, at the 
west end of the south aisle, and occupying the base 
of what was to have been the south-west tower, is 
the Consistory Court of the diocese, shut off from 
the building by heavy Jacobean doors and screen. 
The woodwork of the interior is of the same period 
and of good design. On the north wall hangs the 
coat of arms of Bishop Peploe, with his initials. The 
steps which lead from the floor-level to the west door, 
resting here upon bed-rock, should be ascended in 
order that a general view of the building may be 
obtained. The nave arcades, though both of decor- 
ated style, are not identical, the southern being the 
niore beautiful of the two. No satisfactory explana- 
tion is forthcoming for the difference, which may 
have been due to the later construction of the north- 
em in imitation of the southern, and not in the 

155 




The City style then in vogue. The triforium and clerestory 
of are combined. The roof is of oak, groined in the 

Chester manner of a stone roof. It will be noticed that the 
ribs rise from stone springers of the kind met with in 
groined stone roofs. These were originally provided 
no doubt with the idea of adding at some period a 
stone roof, but this plan was never carried out. In 
fact, when Sir G. Scott came to restore the church, it 
was found that the walls would not carry a stone 
roof. Hence it was decided to carry out the design 
in wood, and it must be conceded that the result 
is very satisfactory. Perhaps the effect in the south 
transept is even more pleasing than that in the nave. 
The bosses of the roof of the nave contain the arms 
of his present Majesty, when Prince of Wales ; of the 
Duke of Westminster, Lord Derby, and others con- 
nected with the neighbourhood. At the west end of 
the north aisle is the baptistery, floored with a mosaic 
pavement representing the sea with fishes swimming 
therein. The font is a huge quadrilateral receptacle 
of early Italian work, the original purpose of which is 
a little doubtful. It may have been a water-tank or 
even a sarcophagus. * It came,' says Dean Darby, 
' from a ruined church in the Romagna, but it is not 
known whence it was brought to Venice. It is of a 
rectangular form, of white marble ; in all probability 
it was originally a village well-head in early Roman 
times, and afterwards taken by the Christians and 
carved with symbols for a font. The work is of the 
Ravenna type of the sixth or seventh century.' At 
any rate, however interesting it undoubtedly is as a 
piece of early work, it is quite out of place in a 
Gothic church, almost as much so as the Jacobean 
piece of work which it superseded, and which is still 
to be seen at the top of the west steps. It may, how- 

156 



ever, at once be conceded that the font is by no Chester 
means the most obnoxious of the modern features of Cathe- 
the church. The palm in this direction is due to dral 
the series of mosaics which cover the wall of the 
north aisle of the nave. Such a form of decoration 
is admirable in a church of Byzantine design, but it is 
wholly foreign to the Gothic spirit in this country, 
and the aisle itself is certainly not improved by a 
series of designs which, in a church with whose aixihi- 
tecture they harmonised, would be worthy of con- 
siderable praise. The wall which is covered with 
these frescoes is entirely Norman, and in it towards 
the west end is a doorway leading into the cloisters. 
At the foot of the western pillar of this doorway will 
be seen a rudely scratched chequer-board on which 
the choir-boys of the pre-Reformation period seem to 
have amused themselves after having been released 
from lessons in the adjoining cloister. The north 
aisle has a modern stone roof and a row of debased 
windows set very high up on account of the con- 
ventual buildings placed on the other side of the 
wall. The nave pulpit is attached to the most easterly 
pillar on this side of the nave. On the pillar carry- 
ing the tower, near this, are the remains of the fresco 
in which Ripley is represented (see p. 130). Entering 
the small north transept one is confronted with one 
of the most obviously Norman features in the church, 
in the shape of the arches of the triforium on the east 
wall. The dormitory, or sleeping apartment of the 
monks, was just outside the north end of this transept, 
and the approach to the church from that apartment 
for the prayers of the early morning was made by 
this passage and a stair communicating with it. 
Also in the east wall is a blocked Norman doorway 
which led into the chapel now used as the canon s 



r^ 



The City vestry, before the alterations subsequently to be 
of mentioned were made in that chamber. This tran- 

Chester sept contains the modern tomb of Bishop Pearson. 
Here also are some of the larger pipes of the organ. 
The instrument itself is placed in a stone gallery 
supported by marble pillars, which form a screen 
between north transept and nave. The organ-case 
is of oak, and, like all the modern woodwork in the 
church, executed with great skill and taste. The 
south aisle possesses a series of decorated windows 
and a number of mural tablets, which though un- 
interesting in themselves and recording the deaths of 
persons of no historic importance, are much more in 
harmony with the general character of the building 
than the mosaics of the opposite side. The south 
transept is one of the most remarkable features of 
the church from its great size, which is about that 
of the nave. It was for very many years used as 
a separate church, screened off from the rest of the 
edifice and called St. Oswald**s Church. Students of 
history do not require to be reminded how fruitful a 
source of dispute was the question of the share of the 
laity in some part of the monastic church or in some 
building closely attached thereto, as, for example, at 
Sherborne. At Chester disputes were no less fre- 
quent than elsewhere, and no effort that the monks 
could make was successful in ejecting the undesired 
citizens from their abbey church. The monks built 
the Chapel of St. Nicholas, where the music hall now 
stands, for the citizens, but they refused to use it, and 
finally, in the end of the fifteenth century their right 
to worship in this part of the church was fully recog- 
nised. After the change in religion the south tran- 
sept continued to be used as a separate church up to 
1880, when a new church of St. Thomas having been 
158 



built in another part of the city, the use of the south Chester 
transept for such purposes was definitely abandoned, Cathe- 
the screen separating it from the church was taken dral 
down and the whole subjected to a very careful 
and conservative restoration. There is an interesting 
document relating to this transept in the Harleian ms. 
which shows its condition in the first third of the 
seventeenth century. It is also interesting as record- 
ing the change in position of the communion-table 
from the post-Reformation situation in the middle of 
the church to the place wliich it was afterwards to 
occupy. The document is dated 27th August 1633, 
and relates to a commission held by order of the 
Archbishop of York. This commission finds *that 
the said Church was very undecent and unsemely, the 
stalls thereof being patched and peeced and some 
broken, and some higher than other ; and that the 
said Church was much defiled w''th rushes and other 
filthiness.'' These defects are ordered to be put right 
and the rushes and filthiness cleared out, and the 
document proceeds : ' And because the Comunion 
table there was found to bee undecent and unscemely, 
not befitting soe holy an use, they did Order and 
enjoyne the said Churchwardens to p^uide A decent 
and scemely table for the Comunion, and likewise to 
pave or flagge the Isle w''ch they call their Quire, 
wherein the CoMon table standeth; and that the 
seats adjoyning to the wall beyond the Comunion 
Table bee removed & taken away and the comunion 
Table sett upp close to the wall. And that a decent 
Raile w^th Pillasters bee made, one yard in height, 
reaching from the Comunion Table to the pillar against 
w'ch the pulpit leaneth, and soe from that pillar to 
the other pillar ouer against that, and soe up to 
the Comunion Table againe.'' The transept consists 

159 



n 



The City of a central part and aisles, the latter at right angles 
of to those of the nave. The large south window is 

Chester of Sir A. Blomfield^s design, and a rather successful 
piece of work. Along the east wall are the remains of 
the divisions between what were chantry chapels. It 
is known that there were four of these, and that two 
of them were dedicated to St. Nicholas and St. Mary 
Magdalene respectively, but which these were, and 
what were the ascriptions of the other two is not 
known. Dean Darby thinks that the following state- 
ment ' John Arceway, who had been ten times succes- 
sively mayor of Chester, and died 1278, is said to be 
buried before St. Leonard's altar, in the south part of 
the church, where he founded two chantry chapels,' 
may point to one of these chapels, and if so, would 
give us its dedication. The monument of the late 
Duke of Westminster, with a recumbent effigy in 
white marble, surrounded by metal railings with 
heraldic banners at its corners, is placed in this 
transept, where there is also a mural memorial to 
officers of the 22nd or Cheshire Regiment. The 
choir and its aisles is generally approached from the 
north transept through a pair of Spanish gates, less 
incongruous than some of the other objects deposited 
in the cathedral. A similar pair cuts off the south 
choir-aisle from the body of the church. On entering 
the north choir-aisle, a small fire-place, the only one 
in the building, should be noticed. This may have 
been used for baking the altar-breads, or perhaps for 
keeping hot the charcoal which would be used in the 
thuribles. On the opposite side a railed depression in 
the floor shows the level of the older church. It will 
be noticed that one of the pillars of the choir arcade 
rests upon the capital of one of the Norman pillars 
which preceded it, and has been used as a footing for 
i6o 



rv 



its successor. Here, as in scores of other places in Chester 
the cathedral, and particularly in the cloisters, we Cathe- 
have an example of the careless manner in which dral 
mediaeval architects dealt with the work of their 
predecessors. Our modern restorers might quote 
many precedents for their performances in our 
churches and cathedrals. In the floor of this part 
of tlie church are some old tiles collected from various 
places and laid here for safety. Between the pillars 
at this point and in the corresponding position on 
the opposite side have been placed the remains of the 
stone screen which formerly separated the choir from 
the nave, and which was superseded by the modern 
wooden screen which now exists. In the north wall 
beyond the fire-place is the entrance to the little 
chapel, now used as the canotfs vestry. This was 
originally of Norman construction, had an apsidal 
termination, of which traces can still be seen near 
the present door, and was approached by the blocked 
doorway already noticed in the north transept. At 
a later period the chapel was enlarged to its present 
size, the old entrance closed and a new one made. 
In this chapel is one of the most beautiful pieces 
of work which the cathedral contains, in the shape 
of the iron work on a press at its west end. Dean 
Darby says that it was * wrought by Thomas de 
Leghtone in the thirteenth century. The char- 
acter of its hinges is very like that of the hinges 
of the press in the Church of St. Jacques at Liege, 
which are figured in Mr. J. Starkie Gardner^s Iron- 
W07k, Mr. Gardner points out that **the distri- 
bution of richly stamped iron work of the French 
type in England is rather remarkable,'^ and that 
"the specimens are so limited in number that 
they might well have been the work of a single 
L i6i 




The City smith.*^ This smith seems to have been Thomas 
of Leghtone, and it is probable that he had studi 

Chester French examples, particularly the grille at St. Den 




which closely resembles the one which be ma 
for Westminster Abbey.' This ironwork is wort! 
of all praise and should receive the most carel 
attention. In this chapel also hangs a curio 
162 



lantern which was discovered in the passage lead- Chester 
ing from the floor of the chapter-house to its Cathe- 
triforium. Beyond this chapel and still on the dral 
north wall of the aisle is the memorial tablet of 
Dean Howson, which should not be overlooked. 
Not that the tablet itself is of any intrinsic in- 
terest, but that it commemorates a man whose 
industry and energy raised the large sum of money 
necessary for the restoration of the cathedral. That 
he made no mistakes in carrying out his task of 
restoration cannot be claimed for him, but to him 
Chester and the visitors to that ancient city owe the 
possession of a building which if rather painfully 
new in appearance, is at least sound and strong and 
water-tight, and capable of discharging its duties for 
many years to come. Under this tablet is one to the 
Clerk of the Works, and somewhat further on a 
memorial of Bishop JacoBson, as he wrote his name, 
and as it is not inscribed on his monument. Beyond 
this the Norman work terminates, and the apsidal 
end of the chapel of that date is marked by a semi- 
circular series of black slabs in the floor. Further 
on another door in the wall leads to the triforium, 
and on the opposite side in the wall is a double 
piscina of the decorated period, which marks nearly 
the eastern limit of the second aisle chapel on this 
side. Beyond this we enter the final extension 
made during the perpendicular period, an exten- 
sion which not merely for the second time increased 
the length of the aisle but took in two windows 
of the Lady Chapel itself. The most easterly of 
these remains still as an unglazed window between 
the aisle and the Lady Chapel ; the western was so 
altered as to become a means of communication 
between the aisle and the Lady Chapel. To afibrd 

163 




TheCSty 
Chester 



this means of communication was probably one 
of the reasons for this alteration in the building, 
but it was also obviously rendered advisable by the 
condition of the wall itself, which was failing and 
required support. Under the window between the 
aisle and the chapel is the monument of Bishop 
Graham. 

The Lady Chapel is early English in period, and 
has two sedilia and a double piscina. The eastern 
wall is decorated with a mosaic. The bosses of the 
roof are of considerable interest. That to the east 
represents Our Lord in glory; the central is the 
Blessed Virgin and Child; and the western, most 
interesting of all, represents the martyrdom of St. 
Thomas of Canterbury. It will be remembered that 
Henry viii., after breaking with the old religion, 
ordered all memorials of St. Thomas to be destroyed. 
Here and there one has escaped, and this amongst the 
number. At the west end is all that remains of the 
once magnificent shrine of St. Werburgh. Up to 
recent years a large part of this shrine formed part 
of the Bishop''s throne ; but, on the erection of the 
present wooden throne, the fragments found here and 
elsewhere were pieced together, the deficiencies being 
made good witn perfectly plain pieces of stone, so 
that all that remains of the old work can be easily 
identified. In Webb's time * there only remains now 
of that shrine of St. Werburgh one fair stone in the 
middle of the church, where was lately buried one 
worthy bishop of the same diocese, called Bishop 
Downham.' This account describes the condition of 
the shrine up to the restoration just alluded to. The 
shrine itself, which obviously must have replaced an 
earlier structure of the same kind, for it belongs to 
the decorated period, is of two stages. The lower, 
164 



k 



solid portion, is provided with niches, now empty, for Chester 
the reception of figures. The flat surface forming Cathe- 
the upper part of this portion was doubtless the dral 
situation of the actual repository of the relics. It 
is rather high, and as there is no trace of any stone 
stair, pilgrims to the shrine can have had direct 
access to it, if at all, only by means of a wooden 
stair. The upper stage of the shrine consists of a 
series of arches, or rather did so consist, for they 
are not all perfect. Around the upper part is a row 
of gilded figures, all headless. It is quite clear that 
the stone-work of the shrine must have extended to 
a much greater height than at present. After the 
Reformation the Lady Chapel was used for a long 
time as the Consistory Court of the Bishop, and 
this purpose it served even during the reign of 
Queen Mary, when Catholic worship was tempo- 
rarily restored, for it was in this chapel that George 
Marsh was tried, and condemned to be burned, in 
1555. 

The south aisle of the choir terminates now apsi- 

dally. Prior to Scotfs restoration it terminated in a 

similar manner to its fellow of the opposite side. It 

is this apse which is covered by the very singular roof 

to which attention was called when the exterior of the 

church was under consideration. Scott gives in his 

Architectural History of Chester Cathedral a long 

account of the discoveries which led him to build the 

chapel as it now stands. In so doing he reverted to 

what he believed, perhaps perfectly correctly, to have 

been the plan at the time of Edward i. The peculiar 

roof, of which mention has been made, is a feature, he 

says, ' which, though unique in England, is in several 

instances found in France, especially at Norrey, in 

Normandy, where the radiating chapels at the east 

I6S 




The City 
of 

Chester 



end are precisely similarly roofed.** Of these chapels 
he gives a drawing in the work above mentioned, 
showing the similarity of their roofs to that which he 
has built at Chester. In looking at this roof, it must 
be remembered that here we have in no true sense of 
the word a restoration, but simply the architect's idea 
of what very likely had been the condition at one 
era of the churches history, but a condition which 
later builders had superseded. Whether such a treat- 
ment of a historic building is legitimate is at least 
open to grave doubt. In the remainder of the south 
aisle are two tombs of some interest. One is an altar 
tomb, with some considerable remains of gilding and 
painting about it. Whose it is is not known. * The 
most preposterous theory is that it is the tomb of 
Henry iv., Emperor of Germany, who abdicated in 
1103. The workmanship and design of the monu- 
ment at Chester clearly are of the ^eenth century, 
and the Emperor died in the year 1106. As a matter 
of fact, Henry iv. completed the building of the 
Romanesque cathedral of Spires, in Bavaria, and 
was buried in it at his death, which took place in 
that city. In all probability the tomb marks the 
resting-place of one of the abbots of St. Werburgh'^s ** 
(Hiatt). 

The other tomb, placed near the gates of the aisle, 
is that of Ranulph Higden, author of the Poly- 
chronicon^ who died somewhere about 1360. It is a 
curious fact that when this tomb was opened some 
years ago hazel twigs were found on the surface of the 
wrappings of the body. A similar discovery has been 
made elsewhere in this country, but the reason for 
the custom is not clear. We now approach the con- 
sideration of the choir, which is by far the most 
beautiful thing in the church, and alone would well 
l66 



repay the j oumey to Chester. Its architecture belongs Chester 
to the period of transition between the early English Cathe- 
and decorated styles; and undoubtedly the most dral 
remarkable feature of the edifice itself is the very 
elaborate triforium, separated from the clerestory, 
not combined with it, as in the nave. At the east 
end the choir is separated from the Lady Chapel by 
a small arch, above which is a window. The com- 
munion table, which is made of different kinds of wood 
brought from the Holy Land, is elaborately carved , but 
is far too suggestive of the domestic sideboard to be 
impressive, and the mosaic reredos cannot be said to 
be particularly effective. The two candlesticks, of 
great size, on either side of the sacrarium, are really 
fine examples of Italian cinque cento style, and though 
of foreign origin do not at all jar upon the eye in a 
Gothic cathedral. The Easter sepulchre and an 
aumbry on the north, and the restored sedilia on the 
south, should be noticed. Of the modern pulpit, 
little need be said, and of the floor it may be well to 
say nothing. Let us pass to the consideration of the 
woodwork, the chief crown and glory of the choir and 
of the cathedral. In the first place, it must be borne 
in mind that parts of this are quite modem. The 
Bishop'*s throne is entirely new, so is the western face of 
the screen between the choir and the nave, so are many 
other smaller portions, to some of which attention 
will yet be called. But of these portions, and of the 
restored parts of the old woodwork (see plate, p. 152), 
it may fairly be said that they are far more successful 
than most of such attempts to reproduce ancient 
effects, as successful perhaps as we can expect wood- 
carving to be in these degenerate days of art. It 
seems as if the existence in the church of such noble 
specimens has acted as a spur to the modem workmen, 

167 




Hie City and induced them to put forth unusual efforts to vie 
of with the ancient models. In the next place it must 

Chester not be forgotten that the restoration of the old 
portions of the woodwork was a task of great difficulty 
and labour. The barbarous taste of a bygone age 
had caused all the exquisite tabernacle work over the 
stalls, belonging to the early fifteenth century, to be 
painted green, and all these parts had to be boiled in 
order that the obnoxious coating might be removed. 
Bearing these points in mind, and gazing upon the 
result of the labours of the past and the present, no 
one can fail to extend the highest measure of praise 
to all concerned in the production. Apart from the 
tabernacle work of stalls and screen, there are some 
other parts of the carving to which special notice 
should be paid. In the first place, examine the bench 
end by the dean*'s stall, the first on the right at the 
western end. This represents a Jesse tree, and 
immediately in front of the end is a curious figure, 
shown in the tailpiece to this chapter, of a man with 
a staff in his hand, perhaps a pilgrim. Then look at 
the opposite bench-end, belonging to the sub-dean''s 
stall, which has on it clusters of grapes and pelicans, 
and in front of it a pelican in her piety, the whole 
in allusion to the doctrine of the Blessed Sacrament. 
Another old bench-end on the north side represents 
the devil as a roaring lion swallowing an avaricious 
man. On the other side of the passage is a modern 
piece of carving, representing a man playing a fiddle, 
the face being that of a former precentor. Here a 
comparison may be instituted between the ancient 
and the modern work ; and though there is no doubt 
which bears off the palm, the modem work stands 
very well beside its ancient brother. On the same 
side of the choir is another admirable piece of carving, 
1 68 



representing the devil tipping up the mug of ale Chester 
which a toper is about to swallow with undisguised Cathe- 
relish. The misereres are also very interesting. It dral 
ought not to be necessary to tell people that these 
were simply rests used during the chanting of certain 
parts of the Divine Office, as they are used at this 
moment in monasteries in this and other countries ; 
but so many wild stories are told about these and 
other pieces of monastic buildings and furniture by 
those who have never taken the trouble to go to a 
living monastery and see for themselves what the 
places and things were for, that it is perhaps as well 
to be specific and set down the actual purpose of the 
miserere. In almost all churches of importance these 
supports are more or less elaborately carved, and 
Chester is no exception to the rule. They seem to 
have been the work of at least three hands, of whom 
one was a poor, a second a mediocre, and the third a 
superlative artist. It should be added that some of 
them are of modem workmanship. It is undesirable 
to burden these pages with a complete list of these 
pieces of carving, of which, by the way, an account 
has appeared in the Proceedings of the Chester 
Archaeological Society. They should be examined in 
detail by those specially interested in such matters, 
and for those who have little time or inclination to 
study such things, the carving of St. Werburgh and 
the geese, which Mr. New has represented in his 
drawing, may perhaps be recommended as a good 
example. This miserere commemorates a legend 
about the patron saint of the church, told by Brad- 
shaw in his life of St. Werburgh : * The legend tells 
how at Weedon, m Northamptonshire, wild geese 
made a great destruction upon the abbey land, de- 
vouring the cornes and fruites.** St. Werburgh, on 




TheCity complaint being made by the tenants, commanded 
of one of the abbey servants to drive the geese, and 

Qiester ' bring them home to her place there to be pynned 
and punished for their trespass.'' This was done, to 
the amazement of the messenger, the wild geese 
following in all obedience, 'their wings trailing, 
mourning in their manner, abiding one and all her 




will and judgment.' The left-hand portion of the 
miserere represents the geese with ' high voices calling 
on St. Werburga for grace and pardon of their offence.' 
They are released on promise of good behaviour, but 
a greedy retainer of the abbey steals one of their 
number. The rest come flying back to complain. 
Inquiry is made; and on tne right the culprit is 
portrayed confessing to the abbess his theft. The 
central group represents her restoring the missing 
goose to its companions, who are fluttering about 
overhead. This is done, although it had been roasted 
and eaten the same night that it was stolen ; and 
when asked for, only the bare bones could be brought. 
Yet, by virtue of the holy maiden's benediction, 
170 



*the bird was restored, and flew away full soon' Chester 
(Morris). One object of devotion, which formerly Cathe- 
stood in the choir, naturally enough disappeared dral 
at the time of the Reformation, and that was a 
miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin, for the 
Speculum Carmelitanum^ quoted by Waterton in his 
Pietas Mariana Britannica^ relates that ' in the south 
part of the choir, at the head of the tomb of the 
hermit Goddestald, stood an image of the Blessed 
Virgin Marye, by which God wrought many miracles.' 
Near the choir was another object of devotion, also 
gone, of which Waterton says, * Henry de Sutton, 
nineteenth abbot, died May 8, 141S, and was 
buried in the broad aisle, close to the north side of 
the south pillar, next to the entrance into the choir, 
before a painting formerly called Our Ladye of 
Pitie.' 

Having examined the principal objects of interest 
in the body of the church itself, it will next be 
advisable to visit the cloisters and the portions of 
the conventual buildings still in existence which 
are connected with them. Many of these have of 
course disappeared, but the parts which remain are 
of great interest and deserve careful examination. 
The cloisters were the last part of the buildings to be 
erected, and in many places it is possible to see how 
the architect disregarded the work of his predecessors 
and ruthlessly cut them about in order to carry out 
his own designs. Entering the south walk of the 
cloisters by the west door and turning to the east, 
there are to be seen along the south wall a series of 
recesses in the wall which are supposed to have been 
for the reception of the library of the monks. 
Opposite to these on the north side are the windows 
looking out upon the cloister garth. This was not 

171 




The City apparently used in monastic times as a place of 
of burial, for the cemetery of the brothers was outside 

Chester the church, and the abbots appear to have been in- 
terred in the church or in the cloister itself. A row 
of pillars here divides the cloister into compartments 
where were some of the carrels or recesses in which 
the monks sat at study or writing manuscripts for 
their own or some other library. At the east end of 
this walk is another entrance to the church, where 
there is what remains of a Norman doorway cut away 
at the side by later buildings. Turning now along 
the east walk itself, a blocked doorway leading 
formerly into the north transept is first met with. 
Beyond this are stone seats, and then the entrance to 
the vestibule of the chapter-house is reached. This 
is of the early English period and leads to the 
chapter-house, now used as a diocesan library and 
not open to the public. Like its vestibule, the 
chapter-house belongs to the early English period, 
and is a very beautiful example of that style of archi- 
tecture in its earliest times. The room is rectangular, 
and has a very fine triforium and clerestory combined, 
the shafts which traverse them being tied to the wall 
at mid-height. The entrance to the triforium is by a 
staircase at the south-east comer. This was hidden 
for a long time by the bookcases which formerly 
lined the walls. When these were replaced by the 
present dwarf cases extending at right angles from 
the walls, the entrance to the triforium was exposed, 
and in it was discovered the lantern which now hangs 
in the canons' vestry. Amongst the books in the 
library are a Sarum Missal, an early copy of the 
Polychronicon^ and other manuscripts and printed 
books of value and interest. Under the chapter- 
house were buried the Norman Earls of Chester. Re- 
172 



turning from the chapter-house through itu vcMti- Chester 
bule to the cloisters, the next passage is that ('athe- 
now called the Maiden Aisle. This was the parla- dral 
torium of the monks, a place where conversation 
was permitted. The wall and window at the far 
end are not original, for this passage was intended 
to lead and actually did lead to the graveyard. 
At the end and on the north side is a doorway 
which leads into the green around the cathedral, 
and also into a fine vaulted room, now used for 
the storage of coal, as to the original use of whicii 
there is considerable doubt. Some have believed 
that this was the calefactory or room to which at 
certain times the monks might repair for the pur- 
pose of warming themselves. It is difficult to believe 
that this can have been so, for there is no trace of 
fireplace or chimney, nor, since there was a room 
above it, could the smoke have been allowed to 
escape, as was commonly the case in mediaeval build- 
ings, through a louvred chamber at the summit of 
the room. The last doorway in this walk is that 
which leads to the dormitory or sleeping-room of 
the monks. It is lit by a quatrefoil window, and a 
second aperture of a similar character, blocked up 
when the cloisters were built, exists higher up the 
staircase. Tfiese stairs now lead to a flat stone roof 
visible from the abbey precincts, or from Abbey Street. 
Here, of course after the dissolution, there were for 
a time several shops, which have now disapf>eared. 
Within the memory- of man alat} there stood here two 
of the arches which formerly sup[>orted the nxif of 
the dormitory. .The window in the wall on the ea^t 
side is not original, but an insertion after the remains 
of the dormitory harl dii»appeared. Turning inUp the 
north walk of tlie cloii»teri^, the stone beadings beneath 

'73 



n 



The City which the towels of the monks hung, should first be 
of noticed. They are on the wall opposite to the 

Chester windows. Just beyond them is the stone shelf on 
which stood the lavabo or wasliing-trough. It is 
not known of what material this was made, perhaps 
it was a wooden trough which stood upon the shelf. 
At any rate it was not, as at Gloucester, part and 
parcel of the shelf itself. The shelf originally pro- 
jected beyond the opening which is next encountered, 
and was cut away when that was made. This entrance 
is no part of the plan of the monastery, but was made 
by one of the deans, in order to afford a ready way 
from his house into the church. It is important to 
bear this in mind, for otherwise it is impossible to 
understand the room now entered from this passage 
and called the refectory. As a matter of fact the 
original frater-house or refectory was cut into two 
unequal parts by this passage, so that we must think 
of it as liaving consisted of the room at present called 
by that name, of the passage itself and of the room, 
unrestored and indeed roofless, which lies to its west. 
All these portions formed one vast apartment. In 
the larger part to the east, the King^s school was for 
a long time held, and many well-known persons, 
amongst whom may be mentioned Bishop Thomas 
Wilson, of Sodor and Man, the author of the Sacra 
Privata^ Sir Peter Dennis, George Ormerod, and the 
late Randolph Caldecott, received their education 
within its walls. It is now used as a place for choir- 
practices. The most beautiful object in this room is 
the reader^s pulpit with the stair leading up to it, the 
whole of the finest early English architecture and 
reminding one of the similar structure at Beaulieu in 
Hants. From this eminence the lector read passages 
from the Scriptures and the Fathers, during meals, 

174 



V 



and the intervals between the lower parts of the Chester 
arches were no doubt formerly occupied by stone Cathe- 
book-rests to support the heavy volumes from which dral 
he read. On the other side of the passage is the rest 
of the refectory. This was formerly provided with a 
gallery, and at a late period of the history of the 







abbey, when the monks had decreased in number, 
this gallery was used as their refectory, the body of 
the hall being only occupied on great occasions and 
when many guests were gathered together. The 
original doorway leading to the refectory, a piece of 
work of rich early English architecture, is a noticeable 
feature in the north cloister. On one of the bosses 



r 



The City will be noticed the arms of Cardinal Wolsey, with 
of the hat of his dignity, fixing the date at which these 

Chester walls were built as they now stand. The next door- 
way in the same walk of the cloister is that which led 
to the kitchens of the abbey. We now reach the 
fourth or west walk of the cloister, and on the side 
facing the garth is another row of pillars where 
formerly was a second set of carrels. On the other 
side is the door of entrance to what is called the 
Norman chamber, a fine vaulted room of that period. 
Many uses have been assigned for this room, but it 
does not require much knowledge to see that it was 
the cellarium or storehouse of the monastery. Here 
not merely wine and ale, but salt meat and fish and 
other commodities would be stored for the use of 
the house. Above this chamber was the hospitium 
or guest-house, which has entirely disappeared. Be- 
yond this is a doorway which led to the abbots 
house outside the church. In the construction of 
the cloisters little heed has been paid to this door- 
way, for the architect has set a pillar right across the 
centre of it. Thus around the cloisters are grouped 
the greater part of the buildings still remaining to 
show us how and where the monks of the great 
Abbey of St. Werburgh lived. Of the abbot'^s house 
itself, afterwards for some time the bishop^s palace, 
but little is left. In the comer of the baptistery of 
the church will be seen a small doorway. This leads 
to a newel staircase from which a room is reached, 
which was part of this building and was used for a 
long time as the private chapel of the bishop. It 
possesses a Jacobean screen of good workmanship, 
and the communion-rails are still in situ. The place 
is full of dust and dirt and wholly unused. Those 
who penetrate to it will see as they descend the 
176 



sturs a. very obvious top-light of a hall, which Chester 

in fact served that purpose whilst the house was Cathe- 

still occupied by the bishops of Chester as a place dral 
of residence. 




I 




St7otmiCl>! 



CHAPTER IX 




I RELIGIOUS HOUSES AND CHUBC'HKS 



CHESTER during Catholic 
days possessed several 
houses of rel g ous men and 
women to use the techn cal 
phrase by wh ch those persons 
who 1 ed n CO nmun ty under 
a rule are d stmguished from 
those other ecclesiast cs who 
hved n the world and were 
called seculars Of the rel 
gious houses the Benedict ne 
nunnery of St Mary first de 
serves note Acco -d ng to 
some wr ters th s estal 1 shn ent 
was in ex tence pr or to the 
Conquest It s certain that 
in Domesday Book mention is 
made of a monastery of St 
Mary near St John s Church 
Th s it has been thought 
Has merged in the later nun 
nery wh ch was undoubtedly 



founded by Ranulph Gemons. Canon Morns, ho' 
ever, regards this idea as unfounded, and has come 
179 



The City to the conclusion that there was no nunnery in 
of Chester prior to the Norman foundation just men- 

Chester tioned. The second prioress was Lucy, a daughter of 
the founder of the house, which received a number of 
gifts from him and from other later benefactors. At 
the time of the dissolution, the house contained a 
prioress and eleven other nuns, who all received 
pensions. The site of the convent was north-west of 
the castle walls, and the buildings and land with 
some of the properties belonging to the community 
were granted to the family of Brereton, of Handforcl. 
By this family the buildings continued to be occasion- 
ally occupied up to the time of the siege, when they 
were destroyed. A pointed archway which formed 
part of the nunnery is now in the Grosvenor Park. 

The Franciscans are found to have been seated in 
Chester early in the reign of Henry iii. Their house 
was near the Water Gate, stood, says Pennant, ' in 
the yacht field, near the place occupied by the new 
linen hall.** The * yacht field ^ occupied that part of 
the town now known as Stanley Place, a piece of pro- 
perty which, according to an advertisement of the 
period in the Chester Courant^ was opened up for 
building purposes in 1778. The buildings of the 
friary included a church, of which (20 Henry viii.), 
no doubt owing to the extreme poverty of the 
brothers, the nave and three of the aisles were let to 
the merchants and sailors of Chester as a place for 
the storage and repair of sails and other things be- 
longing to their ships. At the time of the dissolu- 
tion the sale of goods and * stuffs belonging to this 
house realised <£6, 4s. 8d., but the debts of the house 
were then <£*11, 8s. lid. The site of this house, 
together with those of the other two friaries, yet to 
be mentioned, was granted to one John Cooke, 
i8o 



citizen and salter of London. After passing through Other 
several hands, the property came into the possession Religi- 
of the Brereton family, by whom the buildings, which ous 
continued, little altered, to exist up to the middle of Houses 
the seventeenth century, were occupied as a dwelling- and 
house. Churches 

The Dominicans had a house in Chester, but its 
precise situation is not known. The north end of 
Nicholas Street was once known as Blackfriars** Lane, 
which would seem to point to the fact that the house 
was near this spot. In any case it was in St. Martinis 
parish. At the time of the dissolution this friary 
contained only a prior, sub-prior, and three brethren. 
The Carmelites were established in Chester in 1279 
by Thomas Stadham or Stathum. Their house was 
also in St. Martin's parish, in the south-west part of 
the city, and near the street still called White-friars. 
The church had a steeple erected in 1496, * of great 
height and beauty, the only sea-mark for direction 
over the bar of Chester.** This was taken down in 
1597. At the time of the dissolution this house 
contained a prior, a sub-prior, and eight brethren. 
A mansion was built on this site by Sir Thomas 
Egerton, and it was in one of its rooms, let to a 
showman, that the terrible explosion took place, 
which gave to the adjacent passage the name of 
the Puppet-Show Entry. This occurrence took place 
on November 5th, 1772, and the accident was due to 
the explosion of gunpowder stored in the room of a 
grocer under that in which the puppet-show itself 
took place. Fifty-three sufferers were admitted to the 
Chester Infirmary, and about the same number were 
treated at their own houses. Of the whole number 
twenty-three died. 

Before leaving the subject of the friars, it may 

i8i 




The City be mentioned that there is now again a house of 
of Franciscans in the city. The friary and church stand 

Chester opposite to tlie Grosvenor Museum. The foundation 
stone of the church was laid in 1862. A year later, 
when the building was nearly complete, it was 
entirely destroyed by a hurricane. The present 
building was opened by the late Cardinal Manning 
in 1875. Two charitable foundations remain to be 
mentioned before we pass to the consideration of the 
churches of the city. The first of these is the 
hospital of St. John the Baptist, situated outside 
the North Gate. This was founded by Ranulph 
Blundeville, * for the sustentation of poore and sillie 
pei'sons.'* When its charter was reconfirmed by 
Edward i., the mastership of the hospital was given 
to the prior of Birkenhead and to his successors. 
Attached to the hospital there was of course a 
chapel, the ancestor of the present * Little St. 
John'^s.'' An inquisition of the 15th Edward iii. 
finds 'that there ought to be and have accustomed 
to be, in the said hospital, three chaplains to say 
mass daily, two in the church and the third in the 
chapel, before the poor and feeble sustained in the 
said hospital; and that one lamp ought to be 
sustained at mass every day in the said hospital, 
and to burn every night in the whole year; and 
that thirteen beds competently clothed should be 
sustained in the said hospital, and receive thirteen 
poor men of the same city, whereof each shall have 
for daily allowance, a loaf of bread, a dish of pottage, 
half a gallon of competent ale, and a piece of fish or 
flesh as the day shall require.** How such an institu- 
tion succeeded in escaping the notice and the avarice 
of the Tudor sovereigns is a little difficult to under- 
stand, but it did, and continued on its way until the 
182 ^ 



siege, when it was pulled down, lest it should afford 
cover for the enemy without the walls. On the 
Restoration, the chapel and hospital were rebuilt by 
Colonel Roger Whitley, to whom the estate had been 
granted for his life and to his successors for twenty 
years after his death. The management of the 
hospital then passed into the hands of the Mayor and 
Corporation, and subsequently came under the Muni- 
cipal Charity Trustees. The houses of the hospital 
have been rebuilt and lie behind the buildings of the 
Blue Coat School, established by Bishop Stratford in 
1700, and housed here seventeen years later. The 
present buildings were erected in 1854. 

St, Giles's Hospital, Boughton, was one of the 
many houses established in the middle ages for the 
relief of lepers, and as it was for the reception of 
these undesirable neighbours it was placed outside 
the city. It was founded by Ranulph Blundeville, 
and was to benefit by certain privileges which 
Canon Morris details from the reply to a writ of 
qtu) warranto of 15 Henry vii. From every sack 
(whether carried on a cart, or on a horse, or in any 
other way) of wheat, vetches, or barley one handful ; 
oats, or malt, two handfuls; one cheese from every 
horse load or cart-load of cheese ; one salmon from 
every load ; of other fish, as sparlings, flukes, eels, five 
from every horse's pannier, and one from every man's 
load ; one double handful of fruit from a horse load, 
and three handfuls from a cart. A fishing boat free 
in the Dee, three stalls in the Dee called ' syngelyn ' 
(single line) : not to be amenable to the Justice, 
sheriff^, or other officer of the earl, but to their own 
court. The hospital and chapel were completely 
destroyed in the Civil War. Canon Morris points 
out that the hospital, owing to its connection with 

183 



Other 
Religi- 
ous 
Houses 

and 
Churches 




The City the Abbey of St. Werburgh, had a bakery, which was 
of called St. Gileses Bakehouse, in the immediate neigh- 

Chester bourhood of the Abbey. It gave the name of Baker^s 
Entry to a passage from Eastgate Street. 

After the present-day cathedral the most import- 
ant and interesting church is the dispossessed cathedral 
of St. John the Baptist, which, though shorn of 
many of the glories which it once possessed, is still 
full of matters to interest the archaeologist. Accord- 
ing to an ancient tradition, ^ King ^Ethelred, minding 
to build a church, was told that where he should see 
a white hind, there he should build a church ; which 
hind he saw in the place where St. John'^s Church 
now standeth; and in remembrance whereof, his 
picture was placed in the wall of the said church, 
which yet standeth on the side of the steeple towards 
the west, having a white hart in his hand."* (Vak 
Royal,) This ^thelrcd, it is thought, was probably 
iEthelred, King of the Mercians fi*om 674-704. On 
the other hand, it has been maintained that the 
founder was iEthelred, the Earl of Mercia, who was 
husband of Aethelflaed, whose name has several times 
been mentioned in these pages. If so, its date would 
be later, for this .Ethelred died in 912. In 1860 
fifty Saxon coins, belonging to the reign of Eadweard 
the Elder, son of Aelfred the Great, were found 
during some excavations at the west end of the 
church. They were in an excellent state of preserva- 
tion, and were thought by the late Mr. T. Hughes to 
have been foundation coins. If this be the case it 
would strengthen the probability that it was the 
Earl and not the King of Mercia who was responsible 
for the foundation of the church. Another evidence 
of its Saxon history is found in a number of very 
curious crosses which were dug up amongst the ruins 
184 



of the choir and its chantry chapels in 1870. Of Other 
these crosses still to be seen in the church, the present Religi- 
Bishop of Bristol said, ' It is more easy to describe ous 
these crosses negatively than positively. They are Houses 
un-Anglian, un-Scottish, un-Irish, un-Scandinavian, and 
they resemble most closely a head of one of the few Churches 
great crosses left in Wales, known as the Maen-Ach- 
wynfan, and the fragments and head of a cross at 
Diserth.' The bishop assigns these crosses to a date 
of about 830, and, if he be correct in this view, it 
would be an argument in favour of the earlier 
foundation of the church. In any case the church, 
then existing on this site, was visited by King Edgar, 
on the occasion when he was rowed up the river by 
his eight sub-kings. In 1075 it was repaired by Earl 
Leofric, who was also a benefactor of the Abbey. 

It has already been mentioned that Peter, the first 
Norman bishop of the huge diocese of which Coventry 
and Lichfield were also cathedral towns, made St. 
John'^s his cathedral, when he took up his residence 
in Chester. It is to him that we owe the Norman 
parts of the present fabric. This church was always 
the property of seculars, that is to say it was in the 
hands of a dean and chapter of ordinary secular priests, 
and not attaclied to any religious order of monks or 
friars. Each member of the chapter, as well as the 
dean, possessed his own house. This arrangement, 
well known prior to the change of religion, was called 
collegiate. There were seven canons, and, owing to 
the manner of their life, they had no refectory or 
common dormitory or other such buildings. The 
court or enclosure around which the houses of the 
dean and canons lay probably occupied the position 
of the present St. John's house and rectory. At 
the time of the dissolution the value of the revenues 

i8s 



< 



The City of St. John^s was equal to about .^1600 per annum 
of of our money. It may possibly have been on account 

Chester of its small endowment that St. John^s was passed 
over and the Abbey Church decided upon as the 
cathedral of the new foundation. Had St. John^s 
been chosen, it is the Abbey Church which, in all 
probability, would have disappeared. As things 
were, the marvel is that St. John's, or at least a part 
of it, is left to us. This is due to the fact that the 
parishioners thought that part of the church might 
serve for their religious services, and eventually 
obtained a grant of about one- fourth of the original 
edifice from Queen Elizabeth. As to the rest of it, 
that was served in the same way in which so many 
other majestic edifices throughout the country were 
served. The commissioners of Henry and Edward 
had a ready way with churches. After the valuables 
contained inside the edifice had been removed and 
converted into cash, the lead was stripped from the 
roof, and melted down into pigs of a convenient size 
for removal, whereupon that too was sold. The 
carcase of the church was probably granted to some 
needy or greedy retainer, and he in turn made some 
money out of it by using it or letting it out for use 
as a stone quarry. In the case of St. John''s the 
commissioners of Edward vi. made a quite character- 
istic report which may here be transcribed, *The 
bodye of the same churche thowghte suffi'^ent to s\e 
the said p'ishoners w* the charge of xx Zi, so that the 
hole chunsell w* the twoo isles may be reserved for 
the King'^s ma^^® having upon them lead to the 
quantatie of xxiij ffothers. — Bells belonging to the 
said College, and as yett hanging in the churche of 
ye said college — ftyve. Whereof it is thowghte 
sufficient to contynew one. — And ve resydew may be 
i86 



taken for ye King's magistie, and worth by estimacion 
MMMVc lb.** Mr. Leach mentions in his book on 
Englisli Schools at the Reformation that part of the 
revenues of this church were handed over to the 
Grammar School at Macclesfield. This church has 
suffered much from the fall of its towers. In 1468 
the original central tower fell, destroying the choir 
and other parts of the building. Having been re- 
erected, it again fell in 1572, and two years later the 
north-western tower came down, causing the destruc- 
tion of the west end of the church. This tower, 
having again been set up, as shown in the initial to this 
chapter, again fell in 1881, bringing down with it the 
north porch, of early English style, which was itself 
in a somewhat shaky condition. The present porch 
is a copy, so far as this age can copy its predecessors'* 
works, of the old building. This fall took place on 
the night of the 14th and 15th of April, and was 
graphically described in the columns of the Cheshire 
Sheaf by the late Mr. Thomas Hughes, who was, 
one might almost say, an eye-witness of the event. 
'I was sitting alone in my room,' he says, 'and 
actually reading Ormerod's description of St. John's 
at the very instant, ten o'clock, when the crash of 
masonry, mingled with the sound of tinkling bells, 
fell upon my ear! The conviction at once seized 
me that the great tower had succumbed; for the 
imminence of its fall had been for some days past 
manifest to all who, like myself, had watched the 
widening cracks in the eastern and northern faces of 
the structure. I was on the spot in a few moments, 
and realised at once all my worst fears; for there, 
palpable in the moonlight to every eye, ran a fearful 
chasm up the northern wall of the steeple ; the belfry 
being exposed, but the bells still all, as it now turns 

187 



Other 
Religi- 
ous 

Houses 
and 
Churches 



r 



The City out, standing, though awaiting, as it then seemed to 
of every one, an all but certain destiny e"er a few hours 

Chester should pass by ! It was a sight to daze the head, and 
wellnigh disorder the brain, of one who reverences 
and revels in the treasures of the past! Exactly 
three centuries ago this very year, namely in 1581, 
the parishioners, having their old church, with the 
western end in ruins — through the fall seven years 
previously of the eastern and southern sides of the 
tower — handed over to them by Queen Elizabeth, 
began at great cost and labour to close up again the 
stunted nave. Apparently also, at least two other 
extremities of the cruciform church were reduced and 
closed in at the same date, and divine service was 
thenceforward celebrated on the reformed basis, in 
the still handsome parish church. The steeple, too, 
was rebuilt as far as needful at the same period : and 
the work our zealous forefathers then bequeathed us 
has borne the wear and tear of three hundred years 
gallantly, till hard fate has re-enacted, now, the 
fearful havoc the previous fall did for the sacred 
fabric in 1574 ! . . . The fragment remaining of the 
steeple — for a second fall occurred at four next morn- 
ing — is probably doomed to immediate destruction.'* 
A picture of the church as it was before the fall of the 
tower may be seen in the art gallery at the Grosvenor 
Museum. Like the cathedral, St. John's has suffered 
from the inevitable restorers, and externally looks 
like a rather dull modern church, when it is seen 
apart from the interesting ruins at the east end. 
Internally, however, it has some features of great 
architectural interest. The nave and aisles are 
separated by Norman arches and piers, of different, 
but of early dates. Mr. Parker in his paper on this 
church in the Journal of the Chester Architectural 
1 88 



ous 

Houses 
and 
Churches 



and Archaeological Society, pointed out that the Other 
pillars in the middle of the series are, as is not un- Religi- 
commonly the case, a little later than those at either 
end. This, he says, is accounted for by the usual 
practice of the middle ages: the choir, which was 
necessary for the daily service, was the first thing to 
be built: after that was completed, the nave was 
begun ; and the west end with the western doorways 
were the earliest parts of the nave to be finished. 
The eastern bay, being necessary to support the 
central tower, was also built at the same period. 
There was frequently a considerable interval of time 
before the rest of the nave was completed, as this 
depended upon how the funds came in. On the last 
pillar of the north arcade are the remains of a fresco 
representing St. John the Baptist with the Agnus 
Dei. Above the arcades are the triforium and 
clerestory, which belong to the time of the transition 
between Norman and early English, the finest things 
in the church. They were built about the end of the 
twelfth century, according to Mr. Parker, and at the 
same time as the erection of the side aisles. The 
organ occupies the north transept, and the south is 
fitted up as a chapel in memory of Bishop Peter, the 
founder of the church. It is furnished with rather 
fine gates, outside which is the old reredos of Moses 
and Aaron, with the ten commandments, painted in 
1692, when it cost £^5. 

By the side of this hangs the mace-board, a list of 
parishioners who have held the position of mayor 
down to 1794, of special interest because the dexter 
side of it is in the writing of Randle Holme the 
herald. Another list extending to 1848 is in the 
porch. In the north-west comer of the nave are 
several tombstones amongst which is one bearing the 

189 



r 



The City 

of 

Chester 



sjnDaibols of a glover, the shears, wand and glove ; 
another of some alderman of the Smiths' Company, 
with horseshoe, hammer and pincers ; and another of 
a priest, bearing a chalice and a book. All these 
emblems are in each case subsidiary to a large 
floriated cross which forms the main object repre- 
sented on the stone. Near these is a case containing 
tiles, fragments of Roman pottery, the leaden 
chalice and paten from the coflin of a priest, and 
some other objects found in and about the 
chiu'ch. The west window, given at the Jubilee 
of the late Queen, by the Duke of Westminster, 
contains representations of various historic events 
connected with the church, a list of which will 
be found in the illustrated guide to be seen in the 
church itself. In the same guide is a reproduction 
of an ancient plan of the church, the original of 
which is amongst the Harleian mss., representing the 
condition of affairs before 1470. From this we see 
that the choir was of four bays and had an apsidal 
termination and side aisles. One of these bays is 
included in the present church of which it forms the 
chancel. The remainder are in a ruined state and 
can be seen outside the church from the path leading 
down to the river side. Lodged in the wall of a part 
of these ruins is an oak coffin, monoxylic, inscribed 
internally with the words ' Dust to Dust.** Several 
more or less ridiculous and fabulous stories have been 
told about this coffin and its strange position. As 
a matter of fact it was found in digging a grave in 
this part of the ruins, somewhere in the nineteenth 
century. The verger stuck the coffin into a recess in 
the wall, then quite near to the level of the ground, 
and painted in its interior the inscription which it 
now bears. Subsequent excavations having lowered 
190 



k 



the ground, have left the cofBn relatively much Other 
higher up in the wall than it was when first placed Religi- 
there so as to be out of harm's way. The plan above oua 
alluded to shows that there HouBes 

were two cells for anchorites ,-^-.,fX^^.\^^. and 

near to St. John's Church, and -^^^M^^^^i- Churches 

the block of stone, on which -J^^-. 
one of them was perched, still ' ' '^ 
remains.* It was to oite of 
these cells that, according to 
a baseless tradition, Harold 
retired after the battle of 
Senlac. A friar was inducted 
into a cell at St, John's in 
1363. 'John Spicer, hermit, 
obtains a warrant, Sep, 9, 
1358, of Edward, Prince of 
Wales, pardoning him for 
acquiring to himself and his 
successors, hermits, of Stephen 
de Merton, a parcel of land 
between the Dee and the 
quarry, and building thereon 
a hermitage enclosed within 
a wall.' This was probably 
connected with the Capella 
S, Jacobi, which was on the 
south of the churcb, in the 

cemetery, and, in 1841, was held by Dean John de 
Marisco, mentioned 21 Edward iv. Another hermit- 
age of St. James's stood beyond the Dee Bridge, to 

' It need haidlf be mentioned that the building on the top of the 
rock is not the cell but a modern edifice ; but the porch to it — part 
of an old church outside Chester — migbl mislead the unwary if this 
warning were not uttered, 

191 




ITieCity 
of 

Chester 



which ^ leuan ap Bleth^ ap Carwct was appointed by 
the king as hermit, and whose conduct and r^men 
the king desires the mayor and sheriffs to inquire 
into." (Morris.) The successor of this particular 
hermit seems to have been a very bad character, for 
in 1450 he was indicted as a common receiver of 
robbers and indeed was accused of putting his house 
to far worse uses than that. Anchorites differed from 
hermits in being shut up — a special ceremony took 
place at their enclosure — in small cells, xjonnected 
with a parish church. They had a servant or servants 
to wait upon them, and the charitable, who provided 
them with food, passed it in to them through a hole 
in the wall of their cell. In the churchyard at a 
much later date stood a house known as the Priory, 
which has now been pulled down. It was situated 
against the south side of the church and is said in 
Hemingway's History to have been raised by Sir 
Robert Cotton from a small cottage which stood 
upon this spot before the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. This house was for a time occupied by 
Thomas de Quincey, who has left an account of it in his 
Autobiographic Sketches from which some quotations 
will now be given. He speaks of himself as having 
gone there after * that episode, or impassioned paren- 
thesis in my life, which is comprehended in The 
Confessio7is of an Opium Eater^ had finished.' * Suppose 
it over and gone, and once more, after the storms of 
London, suppose me resting from my dreadful re- 
membrances in the deep monastic tranquillity of St. 
John's Priory ; and just then, by accident, with no 
associates except my mother and my uncle. What 
was the Priory like?' He proceeds, 'This gem was 
an ancient house, on a miniature scale, called the 
Priory ; and until the dissolution of religious houses 
192 



in the earlier half of the sixteenth century, had 
formed part of the priory attached to the ancient 
Church (still flourishing) of St. John's. Towards the 
end of the sixteenth, and through the first quarter 
of the seventeenth century, this Priory had been in 
the occupation of Sir Robert Cotton, the antiquary, 
the friend of Ben Jonson,^ of Coke, of Selden, etc., 
and advantageously known as one of those who 
applied his legal and historical knowledge to the 
bending back into constitutional moulds of those 
despotic twists, which interests and false counsels had 
developed in the Stuart and Tudor dynasties. It 
was an exceedingly pretty place; and the kitchen, 
upon the ground storey, which had a noble groined 
ceiling of stone, indicated, by its disproportionate 
scale, the magnitude of the establishment to which 
it had once ministered. Attached to this splendid 
kitchen were tributary offices, etc. On the upper 
storey were exactly five rooms — viz., a servants' 
dormitory (meant in Sir Robert's day for two beds 
at the least), and a servants' sitting-room. These 
were shut off into a separate section, with a little 
staircase (like a ship's companion-ladder) and a little 
lobby of its own. But the principal section in this 
upper storey had been dedicated to the use of Sir 
Robert, and consisted of a pretty old hall lighted 
by an old monastic-painted window in the door 
entrance ; secondly, a rather elegant dining-room ; 
thirdly, a bed-room. The glory of the house in- 
ternally lay in the monastic kitchen ; and, secondly, 
in what a Frenchman would have called, properly. 
Sir Robert's own apartment of three rooms; but 
thirdly and chiefly, in a pile of ruined archways, most 

^ And there, according to tradition, he had been visited by Ben 
Jonson. {Confessions of an English Opium Eater.) 

N 193 



Other 
Religi- 
ous 

Houses 
and 
Churches 




The City picturesque, so far as they went, but so small that 
of Drury-lane coald easily have found room for them 

Chester on its stage. These stood in the miniature pleasure- 
ground, and were constantly resorted to by artists 
for specimens of architectural decays, or of nature 
working for the concealment of such decays by her 
ordinary processes of gorgeous floral vegetation. Ten 
rooms there may have been in the " Priory,'' as offered 
to my mother for less than ^£^500 ! A drawing-room, 
bed-rooms, dressing-rooms, etc., making about ten 
more, were added by my mother for a sum under 
rifi^lOCK). The same miniature scale was observed in 
all these additions. And as the "Priory'' was not 
within the walls of the city, (whilst the River Dee 
flowing immediately below, secured it from annoyance 
on one side — and the church, with its adjacent church- 
yard, insulated it from the tumults of life on all the 
other sides) — an atmosphere of conventual stillness 
and tranquillity brooded over it and all around it for 
ever. Such was the house and such was the society 
in which I now found myself.' The entrance to the 
Priory it appears at this time was through an arch- 
way brought from the nunnery of St. Mary, and was 
on the north side of the ruined portions of St. John's 
Church. The kitchen with groined roof was the 
chapter-house itself, the door of entrance to the hall 
was a Norman window, and the ruins alluded to are 
those now in existence, but then, as previously 
mentioned, much more obscured by accumulations of 
earth than they now are. It was in 1803 and just 
before De Quincey went to Worcester College, Oxford, 
that he was a resident in this house. 

A map of Chester, which appears in a work called 
Britannia Magna^ published in Amsterdam in 1661, 
gives eighteen churches in the city, some of which 
194 




have entirely disappeared. Of those which remain Other 
the next most interesting to St. John's is the church Religi- 
of St. Mary'^s on the Hill, ' usually called super montem^ ous 
says the Vale Royal^ for *it standeth upon the Houses 
brow of a bank that riseth from the west side of and 
the Bridge Street and not far from that gate.' It Churches 
was also described as De Castro^ but it was not in 
the liberties of the Castle, but in those of the city. 
This church was given to the abbot of St. Werburgh's 
by Ranulph the fourth Earl of Chester. Its parish 
extended oeyond the boundaries of the city. The 
area was altered when the new church of St. Mary 
without the walls was built in Handbridge, and now 
includes the old parishes of St. Bridget and St. Martin, 
as well as part of the original parish of St. Mary. 
After the dissolution the church was seized from the 
dean and chapter by Sir R. Cotton, who sold it to 
the Brereton family. Thence the patronage passed 
through the Wilbrahams and Hills to the Westminster 
family. Externally a building of no very great attrac- 
tiveness, it possesses in its interior some objects of 
interest. The roof is supposed to have come origin- 
ally from Basing werke Abbey, (Flint) for in the 
churchwardens' accounts under date 1536, it is noted 
that *the quere was boght at basewerk and sette 
uppe with all costs and charges belongynge to the 
same.' This roof, quite recently repaired, is an 
excellent specimen of the Tudor date, and the fine 
carving of the bosses is well brought out by the 
paint. The nave and aisles are separated from one 
another by arcades also of the Tudor period. In 
the north aisle is a memorial to the four Randle 
Holmes, whose names are ever to be remembered in 
connection with Chester, and of whom some account 
is given in another chapter. On either side of the 

195 



The City chancel is a chapel, that on the north being dedicated 
of to St. Catherine. In it are two interesting altar 

Chester tombs. The first of these is to the memory of 
Thomas GamuU, recorder of Chester, and father of the 
loyal Sir Francis Gamull, whose name has been 
mentioned in connection with the siege of Chester. 
The recumbent effigies of the recorder and his wife 
lie on the top of the tomb, and the figure at the feet 
of the lady is that of their son, afterwards Sir 
Francis. The other tomb bears a semi-recumbent 
effigy of Philip Oldfield of Bradwall. Ormerod 
accounts for the excellent state of preservation of 
these monuments, by stating that when Chester was 
surrendered to the Parliamentarians, the represen- 
tatives of these families procured an assurance that 
their respective family tombs in St. Mary's Church 
should be preserved from injury, as the property 
they most valued. The result proved how necessary 
was their forethought, as these two tombs are the 
only monuments of a like character in Chester which 
escaped demolition by the Puritans. The southern 
chapel is called the Troutbeck Chapel. It was built 
in 1435 by William Troutbeck and Joan his wife, 
but the roof falling in in 1661, the monuments 
within were destroyed. Collections were made in 
the neighbourhood, and it was rebuilt. It was again 
restored in 1891. Near this chapel and at the east 
end of the south aisle proper are the remains of an 
interesting fresco of which a coloured restoration 
hangs below in a frame. Under the figure of a king 
is a representation of the Crucifixion with our Lady 
and St. John. Then on the an^le of the wall is a 
bishop, and beyond this on the pilaster of the window 
the Instruments of the Passion with the figure of Our 
Lord showing the wound in His side. This church 
196 




must have been exceedingly rich in ecclesiastical Other 
furniture, and was promptly dismantled after the Religi- 
change of religion. In 1647 the Holy Rood was ous 
taken down and the walls were * white-limed ' so as Houses 
to cover up the frescoes. In 1550, a sum was paid and 
*for taking down the alters and tyling the church Churches 
flore.'' In 1553 the commissioners visited Chester 
and as a result of their visit the copes, vestments 
etc. sold are found to have produced .sPlO, 13s. 
6d., a larger sum than that obtained in a similar 
manner from any other church, not excepting the 
cathedral, Under Queen Mary the Rood once more 
returned to its accustomed place, for there is an entry 
in the books * gathered in the parish for the makyng 
of the Rode, 8s. 4d.'' but it was not long to remain. 
In 1559, Elizabeth having now come to the throne, 
the rood was taken down, a communion table pro- 
vided and a communion book, whilst in 156^ the 
rood-loft itself was removed as well as the altar, the 
church was white-washed throughout and the ten 
commandments written up. (Earwaker.) Being near 
to the castle, the churchyard was used for the burial 
of prisoners there executed, and at times there must 
have been considerable employment given, from this 
cause, to the grave-diggers. In 1631 the following 
entries of burials appear close together. * Thomas 
Laceby, a prisoner, pressed to death, buried in the 
church-yara on the north side the steeple the 23rd 
day of April I. John Johnson, Joan Broome and 
Katherine Crosse, three persons that were executed, 
buried att the west end of the steeple in the church- 
yard the 25th day of Aprill.' Again during the 
Commonwealth, in 1656, 'Three witches hanged at 
Michaelmas Assizes, buried in the corner by the 
Castle Ditch in the church yard 8th of October.'* 

197 




The City 
Chester 



A few notes on each must suffice for the remaining 
churches. Holy Trinity is a perfectly new church, 
occupying the site of one of considerable antiquity, 
for a church of this name stood here shortly after the 
Conquest. It is situated on the north side of Water- 
gate Street, and the Roodeye forms part of its parish. 
It will be remembered that the Rector was not 
allowed to claim tithes for this, because it was rescued 
from the sea, but he was allowed to feed his horse 
there. The church contains an exceedingly mutilated 
effigy of John de Whitmore, dating from the latter 
part of the fourteenth century, and a good example 
of the military equipment of that period. St. Petee'^s 
Church stands right in the centre of the city, being 
at the intersection of the four chief streets. In front 
of it stood the old City Cross, and against its south 
wall was erected that interesting building the Pentice, 
which will be described in another chapter. Templum 
sancti Petri is mentioned in Domesday, so that the 
predecessor of this church can lay claim to great 
antiquity of origin. Some think that its position 
is that once occupied by the Roman Praetorium. It 
had at one time a spire, but this was taken down, as 
it had become dangerous. The church is interesting 
on account of its long history and from its connection, 
through the Pentice, with the civic life, but other- 
wise it has no claims upon attention. St. Martin's, 
which was certainly founded before 1250, was rebuilt 
in 1721, has been since restored, and is used as a 
Welsh church. Its parish was united with that of 
St. Bridget in 1842. St. Michael's Church is at the 
comer of Bridge Street and Pepper Street, and the 
tower, through which a footway passes, stands over 
Bridge Street Row. According to Mr. Earwaker, the 
first distinct reference to this church is to be found 
198 



in the foundation charter of Stanlaw Abbey, which Other 
was established in the Wirral Hundred in 1173, but Religi- 
afterwards removed to Whalley, where its remains ous 
still exist. This Abbey was founded by John de Houses 
Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, and in his charter he grants and 
certain premises in Chester, 'juxta ecclesiam Sancti Churches 
Michaelis.'* A * monastery of St. MichaeP is men- 
tioned in 1056. Little is known of this, and probably 
it was burnt down in 1118, when the church alone 
may have been kept up. On the visit of the com- 
missioners of Edward vi. the articles belonging to the 
church which were disposed of brought Only 16s. 9d. 
In 1682 the church was almost entirely rebuilt : an 
entry of this period, referring to the building of the 
steeple, alludes to the erection of * a chamber to the 
church."* This is clearly shown in Handle Holme's 
sketch in the British Museum. The steeple was 
evidently of wood, and it and the ' chamber' built out 
at the west end, overhanging the row, and no doubt 
uniform with it, are clearly shown. This chamber or 
living room was built in the black and white timber- 
and-plaster style, and was approached from the out- 
side by the flight of steps shown in the drawing. It 
is quite possible that the rector or curate who 
officiated in the church lived in this * chamber,' for at 
this time he was only receiving the stipend of ^£^8 per 
year, paid to him quarterly by the churchwardens. 
St. Olave's Church, a small edifice built on a rock, is 
no longer used as a church. Its origin dates back to 
before the Conquest, after which event it was in the 
hands of the Botelers ; and Richard Pincerna in 1101 
gave it to the Abbey of St. Werburgh. Amongst 
churches which have been destroyed may be men- 
tioned St. Chad's, in the Crofts, of which even the 
site is unknown ; St. Thomas a Becket, which was in 

199 




The City Liverpool Row; and St. Bkidgkt. The last was in 
of Bridge Street until 18S8 ; and it is thought that the 

Chester foundation of the orieinal church of this name may 
have been as far haclc as the time of Ofia. There 
have been several other chapels in the city which have 
disappeared, but of these it seems hardly necessary 
to make any special mention. The new churches are 
St. Thomas'ii, Chuist Chuuch, St. Mary's without 
THK Walls, and St, Paul's. 




r 



CHAPTER X 




MUNICIPAL IKSTITimoKS 

AS in the case of other 
cities of ancient 
origin, the exact manner in 
which municipal institu- 
tions arose in Chester is 
not a little difficult to dis- 
cover. Not that there is 
any lack of material for a 
history of the Corporation; 
Canon Morris's work affords 
a wealth of information, 
int rm t,c j^jjj contalns reprints and 

translations of the different 
charters which the city has received. But here, as in 
some other places, it is not easy to show clearly what 
were the connections between it and the guild- 
merchant, and how that institution became altered 
into a Corporation comparable with the Corporation 
as we now know it. 

llie Gild -Merchant is expressly mentioned in 
Ranulph Blundeville's Charter of ISOO-ISOS, and is 
spoken of as existing in the time of this EarPs pre- 
decessors, 'Ranulphus, etc. . . . Notum sit vobis 
203 



The City omnibus me dedisse et concessisse et presenti carta 
of mea confirmasse omnibus civibus meis de Cestria 

Chester Gildam suam mercalem cum omnibus libertatibus 
et liberis consuetudinibus quas illi unquam melius et 
liberius et quietius habuerunt temporibus anteces- 
sonim meorum in predicta Gilda.' Such a Gild, with 
full privileges, would have the exclusive right of 
trading within the city, the right also to hold 
markets and fairs, and to be exempt from the inter- 
ference of the bailiffs of the Earl in their civic affairs. 
Moreover, by the payment of a certain fixed sum per 
annum as fee-farm, the members would escape from 
the arbitrary and fluctuating payments of tax and 
toll. It is suggested that a mayor was first appointed 
in Chester in 1257 ; if so, or at whatever date he did 
appear, it seems as if he may have been only the 
president of the Gild -Merchant under another name. 
Canon Morris thinks that this change in title most 
likely occurred when Henry iii. took over the Earldom 
of Chester in 12S7. At any rate, the city had no 
other charters of incorporation in early times save 
those granted by the Norman earls, and afterwards 
confirmed from time to time by succeeding kings; 
and, though entrance into the Gild in the time of 
Richard ii. was synonymous with taking up the 
franchise of the city, there is no formal authorisation 
of a mayor and corporation until the great charter of 
21 Henry vii. The first mention of a mayor which 
Canon Morris has been able to discover amongst the 
documents in the Chester muniment-room occurs in 
a charter of Edward i. (1300), and the mayor is 
frequently mentioned in other documents prior to the 
issue of the charter of Henry vii. Associated with 
the mayor we find a body of twenty-four aldermen, a 
suggestive number, since it is that met with in other 
204 



towns, as a kind of double jury, forming the inner Munici- 
circle of municipal life. Freeman thus speaks of this pal Insti- 
body as it existed at Exeter : * Among the privileged tutions 
order of freemen, a further privileged body arose, the 
body of twenty-four, the Chamber or Common 
Council. It doubtless arose, like all such bodies, 
gradually, and, to some extent, out of the necessity 
of the case. For many purposes in the civic admini- 
stration there was clearly need of some smaller and 
less fluctuating body than the whole mass of citizens. 
No democracy is without a senate of some kind; 
where oligarchy steps in is in making that senate 
hereditary or self-elected. At Exeter we first dimly 
hear of a body of thirty-six, marked out in some way, 
not necessarily permanently, from the mass of the 
assembly. The attendance of the freemen was 
doubtless fluctuating. In all such bodies we find 
complaints of crowds and the disorders consequent on 
crowds, balanced by rules enforcing attendance by 
penalties, and fixing some definite number as neces- 
sary for the transaction of business. When such a 
number is fixed, it is an easy step to summon that 
particular number in some understood way, and 
another easy step to confine the powers of the whole 
assembly to the summoned body.' The number was 
not, of course, the same in every city, for it was at 
first fourteen in Bristol, though this was raised to 
forty-eight in 1873. The oath taken by each member 
of the twenty-four of Chester is preserved by Ormerod, 
and is as follows : * I shalbe readye as one of the 24 
of this Cittye, and come upon aue warninge to me 
made, to the mayor for the tyme beinge. And geue 
him my true advise and Counsell of anyething I Am 
required of Touchinge the fFraunches weale governe- 
ment and good rule of this Cittye, as often tymes as 

205 



r 



The City the Case requireth. And be Assistante and Attend- 
of ance giue to the Mayors and Sheriffes for the tyme 

Chester beinge, for the p'^servation of the peace, as farr as the 
firaunches of the Cittye of Chester stretcheth. And 
to keep their Counseil, and ordinaunces made by the 
more pte of them, shall truely keepe and performe. 
As helpe me God,' etc. By the great cnarter of 
Henry vii. the citizens were ordered to assemble in 
the Common Hall on the Friday next after the Feast 
of St. Denis, and choose two from amongst the 
twenty-four aldermen, one of whom should subse- 
quently be elected mayor by the aldermen and sheriffs. 
The mayor has certain peculiar privileges. Since at 
least the time of Queen Elizabeth he has always been 
styled Right Worshipful instead of merely Worshipfiil, 
and is so styled to the present day. Again, he has 
the right to have the sword of state carried before 
him with point erect, as well as the more usual mace. 
There was a pillory near the High Cross, known as 
the mayor of Chester's Pillory ; but at an early date 
the mayor was claiming the right of pillory far bsyond 
the * fnraunches ' of his own ci^. In the reign of 
Edward ii. we find the Abbot of Vale Royal Monas- 
tery petitioning the Crown for the removal of a 
pillory which the mayor of Chester had set up in 
front of their house, which they denounce as a common 
nuisance. There were two sneriffs, the King's and 
the Earl's, who, under the name of prefects, are 
specifically referred to in Domesday Book. In 
mediaeval times the King's Sheriff was elected by the 
Court of Aldermen, as representing the Crown, while 
the Earl's Sheriff was elected in open assembly by the 
popular voice. On this account the latter came to 
oe called the * Popular Sheriff.' To the very end 
this title was retained, for at one of the last, if not 
206 



the last, contest for the post prior to the Municipal 
Reform Act, a weaver was elected, and the fact is 
recorded in the books of that company that *Mr. 
Joseph Ridgway (a member of this company) was 
elected popular sheriflF of this city.** The Municipal 
Reform Act, with rude disregard of old custom, swept 
away most of the ancient usages of the city, and 
assimilated its corporation and methods of election 
to those of younger places. It is obviously impos- 
sible, in the limited space here at one*'s disposal, to 
give any detailed account of the doings of the muni- 
cipality of Chester, but before passing on to the 
subject of the trade guilds, so closely allied with the 
government of the city and its commerce, a few 
matters may be dealt with throwing light upon the 
life of the city, and the influence upon it of the 
municipal authorities. Regrating, that is, buying up 
corn or any victuals in a market for the sake of selling 
them in the same market at a profit, and forestalling, 
that is, the purchase of victuals on their way to any 
market, and before they had been exposed in the 
same, were both oflences of which frequent mention 
is made, and all traders were required to bring their 
goods into a public place for sale, so that no one 
person might have an advantage over another. In 
1421, butchers, fishmongers, and cooks were forbidden 
to buy fresh fish, capons, or hens before six o'clock in 
the morning, or to go outside the city to forestall the 
same before being brought into the city. In 1533 it 
was ordered that all corn and grain for sale should be 
brought into the market-place, and that none should 
be shown or opened until the market bell had rung. 
Then the citizens were allowed to buy for their own 
domestic purposes. At one o'clock the bakers might 
begin to make their purchases, and from two to three 

207 



Munici- 
pal Insti- 
tutions 



O 



TlieCitj 

of 

Chester 



was the time for the common people. Three yean 
later it was further added that, ^No person, not 
inhabiting within the city, should come to buy before 
two oVlock/ But beyond this the mayor had a special 
privilege on behalf of the city. K any ship came 
into the port, unconsigned to any special citizen, the 
mayor might, during a certain specified number of 
hours, exercise the right of buying the cargo, and 
re-selling it for a profit, which profit belonged to the 
city. During the mayoralty of William GamuU, in 
1608, one Robert Berie, was found guilty of having 
* boughte within the same Citie to and for his owne 
private Commoditie of one Andrew Taylor, a merchant 
straunger, Seaventye and Sixe tonnes of gascoigne 
wyne, w'*ch latelie arry ved at the said citie from the 
p'^tes behoinde the Seas upon thadveuture of the said 
m^'ch^te straunger, before such tyme as the same wynes 
were offered to be sould to the Maior of the said Citie 
as a Common bargaine for the gen^all good and bene- 
fite of the Citie.** As Berie was a member of the 
Common Council, he ought to have known, and 
doubtless did know, better, so he was fined forty 
pounds. Whereupon, *he, the said Robert Berie, 
shewinge great passion of anger and malice, uttered 
forth against the Maior of the said Citie and Mr. 
Edmund Gamull, AWn, verie undutifull, undecent 
speeches to have been uttered againste a Magistrate, 
as namely, in sayinge that " what was done against 
him proceeded of their inveterate malice towards him,'' 
and other like evill woords. Therefore it is ordered 
that the said Rob'te Berrye, for such his uncivill and 
unduityfuU demeanor is, by a gen'all Consente of the 
whole assembly, Committed to the prison of the 
Northgate in the same Citie.' The whole account 
affords a good example of the way in which the 
208 



\ 



citizens preserved their ancient rights, and took Munici- 
thought for the dignity of their chief magistrates. pal Insti- 

The Mayor kept watch over the sale of different tutions 
kinds of food to the citizens. Bakers were obliged 
to sell their bread at prices fixed at an assize, in 
accordance with the price of com in the market. 
Each baker had a registered mark for his loaves, 
and those who were found to be selling under-weight 
were fined, or perhaps even subjected to more pain- 
ful punishments. In the time of Queen Elizabeth, 
complaints having been made as to the weight and 
quality of the loaves, * foreign ' bakers were allowed 
to come into the city and sell their bread on Wednes- 
days and Saturdays, weekly, under the new Shambles, 
from three to eight o'^clock, p.m. The butchers also 
were closely watched, members of that body being 
often presented for selling bad meat, breaking the 
mayor^s assize, and refusing to charge moderate prices. 
Canon Morris prints in his work, which is a store- 
house of information on these subjects, a carefully 
thought-out order 'how Bochers shall sell fleshe.' 
Many regulations were also made as to the sale 
of beer, for the ale-houses were a constant source of 
trouble to the municipality. They were generally 
kept by women ; and in the time of Henry viii. a 
mayor named Henry Gee, who was the originator of 
a number of regulations bearing on all kinds of 
subjects, made a decree that, in order to * eschew 
provocation of wantonny and braules, frays and other 
inconvenyents as doth and may ensu amongst youth 
and light disposed persons,' no taverns or ale-houses 
should be kept within the city by any woman between 
fourteen and forty years of age. There were many 
places of this description in the city, and over and 
above the houses specially set apart for drinking, 
o 209 




The City there were the * ale-bowers' or chambers in private 
of houses, where home-brewed liquors could be bought 

Chester and consumed. These must have been a source of 
great trouble to the authorities. Some of the restric- 
tions appear to our eyes to have been tyrannous in 
the extreme. In the first year of Queen Elizabeth it 
is complained that joiners and carvers were in the 
habit of sending their finished work to Ireland and 
other places * at unreasonable great and dear price, so 
that while the owners became greatly enriched, the 
citizens were therein unserved.' Consequently, an 
order is made that no joined wood, wainscot, or the 
like is to be sent away by any workman living within 
the liberties of the city without special license. On 
the other hand, in 1569, one Taddy Brady, whose 
nationality it is not difficult to guess, is brought 
before the mayor for * importing from Ireland eight 
hawkes, viz., two goshawkes and six tassels.' Gee, 
the intrepid, even went so far as to make regulations 
concerning the hats and caps of the women, and about 
the attendance of the weaker sex at Churchings. In 
towns which contained many houses largely built of 
wood, provisions against fire were very necessary, and in 
1569 each alderman and councillor was made respon- 
sible for the maintenance of a certain number of 
water buckets; whilst still later each alderman was 
required to provide, at the cost of his ward, a hook, 
with rings, and a ladder, for use in case of fire. The 
object of the hook was to pull down houses which it 
was impossible to save, and which might be a source 
of danger to their neighbours. Dogs were not allowed 
to roam at will through the city, an excellent pro- 
vision ; and in 1588 seven citizens were indicted for 
letting their dogs be in the streets * unmoselled.' We 
are inclined to believe that compulsory education is a 

210 



product of our own day, but Gee was before us in 
Chester, in the sixteenth century, for he makes a 
series of orders on the subject, which commence, 
^ Youth ofthdge ofvj yeres or above to be sett to Schok 
Sf other vertuoics exercise^ S^c. For asmoche as the 
wretched Lif of ociositie or Idlenes is the rote of all 
vic's, and engendreth slouth, poutie, mysMe, and other 
inconuenienc'^s, as voluptuositie and all other vayne 
things, sleynge the body, wasting good dedes, and 
letting v''tue and goodness to prosede, (whervnto youth 
& tender age by course of nature dothe enclyne & 
obey, Onles some grace otherwyse be sent from Aboue,) 
or els the vse & exercise of busynes in learning of 
good & v'^tuus levin g : Children to be sett to Schok all 
week, Sf to Come to Church to here diuine seruice on 
holy days Sf Sundays: and aftemoone to Shute on 
Roodey, or elsewhere, for pinns or poynts? People's 
minds were being exercised evidently at the decay of 
archery, to judge by the last line of the above, for 
after the regulations which follow the above heading, 
concerning attendance at school, there is a further 
series as to the use of the bow and arrow, preluded 
by the following statement : ^ All parents of children 
to buye them Bowes and Arrows to sute with on Roodee, 
accordinge to ye Statute of Artillery, beinffe the 
Au7itient u^e Sf means of defence of this Kvngdom^ 
Even the teaching of unrecognised teachers was 
forbidden, a state of affairs to which we are now 
approximating by slow degrees. In 1 682 one Jonathan 
Rutter is brought before the Consistory Court, * for 
contempt of the Law and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction 
in teaching boys without having obtained any faculty 
or license,' and having confessed the charge, was 
monished to obtain a license by a certain day. This 
having arrived, he was again called upon, but failing 

211 



Munici- 
pal Insti- 
tutions 




The City to reply, was sentenced 'pro confesso haberi^ and to 
of be excommunicated. It is fair to point out that this 

Chester crime was one against the ecclesiastical, and not the 
municipal, court. The health of the town was not 
looked after as it is nowadays with us; but some 
efforts were made, especially under the incentive of 
the Plague, to improve sanitary matters. The scourge 
just mentioned visited Chester on various occasions; 
but the most notable epidemic was in 1647, after the 
Siege, when two thousand people, as Handle Holme'^s 
notes show, perished, and grass is said to have grown 
in the principal streets of the city. In one week — 
July 7 to July 15 — 141 persons succumbed to the 
disease. A contemporary record says : * The plague 
takes them very strangely, strikes them black of one 
side, and then they run mad ; some drowne them- 
selves ; others would kill themselves ; they dye within 
few hours ; some run up and down the streets in their 
shirts, to the great horrour of those in the city.' 
Five of the twenty-four members of the Company of 
Barber Chirurgeons died in this year, and the books 
of the Company, after noting the elections to office 
for the year, add : * July 2, 1647, being then the 
tyme of the Lords Dreadfull visitac'on of this Cittie 
of Chester ; fro' w'ch, praysed be the God of heaven, 
who hath in mercy stayed his Judgment, and p'mitted 
a remnant to survive to give him praise this day.' 
The filth of the houses, even the good ones, must have 
been almost incredible, if we are to believe the account 
which Erasmus gives of the interior of the English 
dwelling-houses of his day. He says : ' The floors 
are in general laid with a white clay, and are covered 
with rushes, occasionally removed, but so imperfectly 
that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes 
for twenty years, harbouring expectorations, yomit- 
212 



ings, the leakage of dogs and men, ale-droppings, 
scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be 
mentioned. The island would be much more salu- 
brious if the use of rushes was abandoned. More 
moderation in diet, and especially in the use of salt 
meats, might be of service, more particularly were 
public ediles appointed to see the streets cleaned 
from mud, and the suburbs kept in better order.' 
If such was the condition of the houses, the streets of 
all cities no doubt were in an even more filthy state, 
and those of Chester were no exception, judging from 
the efforts made by the mayor of 1686 to get them kept 
in something like order. Amongst the records it is 
stated that an order is made ' that the lord bishop be 
informed of the unwholesomeness of the puddle near the 
East Gate,and the inhabitants be ordered tocleanse the 
street before their respective doors within one month, 
under a fine of ten shillings.' Another note tells us 
that * The maior caused the dirt of many foule lanes 
in Chester to be carried to make a banke to enlarge 
the roodey, and let shipps in. It cost about 100/.' 
The general fate of reformers is exemplified by the 
notice of another mayor possessed of a zeal for sanita- 
tion. *This man (William Edwards, mayor), a stout 
man, and had not the love of the commons. He was 
cruel and not pitying the poor, he caused many dung- 
hills to be carried away, but the cost and time was 
on the poor, it being so bad times might well have 
been spared.' 

Some feeble attempt was made at lighting the dirty 
streets at night. In 1503, during the mayoralty of 
Richard Goodman, an order was made on this subject. 
* It is ordered By mayester mayre and his brethren 
that eu'y man that hath byne mayre or sheriff of the 
Citie of Chester, And allso all Inkepers, as well they 

213 



Munici- 
pal Insti- 
tutions 



f 



The City that have sygnez as they that have no sygnez, shall 
of have hanging at their dores A Lantorne wyth a 

Chester candyli bryning in it every nyghte, from that it be 
first nyght unto the oure of viij of the clocke, That 
is to wyt, from the feste of all Sayntes unto the feste 
of the puryfycacon of oure Ladye then Next folo3nig 
yerly, upon the Payne of everye man doing the con- 
trarye, xij d.' It must be admitted that the period 
of the year, from the first of November to the second 
of February was short enough and the same might be 
said for the length of time that the light had to be 
maintained each evening, for it was actually allowed 
to be extinguished a whole hour before the closing 
time of taverns and ale-bowers. The centre of the 
municipality was, for many years, at the Pentice. 
This building, which was a pent-house or lean-to 
edifice erected against the side of St. Peter's Church 
and near the City Cross, is well shown in the repro- 
duction of Randle Holme'^s drawing given in Canon 
Morris'*s book.^ * The mayor,' says the Vale Royals 
* remaineth most part of the day at a place called the 
Pendice, which is a brave place builded as for the pur- 
pose at the high Cross and under St. Peter's Church, 
and in the midest of the city, in such a sort, that a 
man may stand therein, and see into the markets, 
and four principal streets of the city.' The Pentice 
is first heard of in ISll, and thenceforward its name 
frequently appears in the history of Chester. In 
1488 the corporation seem to have temporarily aban- 
doned it as a place of meeting and to have hired 
St. Nicholas's Chapel for that purpose, but a few years 
later the Pentice was rebuilt, as it appears in Randle 
Holme's picture, and again became the centre of city 
life. It was not actually pulled down until 1803, a 

^ See fig. p. 203, 
214 



\ 



period when there was no kind of restraint — there is Munici- 
little enough now — upon those barbarians whose pal Insti- 
main purpose in life seems to be the overthrow of tutions 
objects of antiquarian interest. The present Town 
Hall was built in the latter half of the last century 
and contains portraits of Chester worthies and bene- 
factors. It was from the Pentice that the celebrated 
wooden hand was hung in times of fairs, to proclaim 
the king's peace, Canon Morris thinks, though an old 
inhabitant of the city writing in the Cheshire Sheafs 
says that it was to show traders from a distance, though 
not sworn Freemen, that they might carry on their 
business without fear of being pounced upon by the 
city authorities. After the Pentice was pulled down, 
the hand was still hung out from St. Peter's Church 
for thirty-three years. Then a mayor arose who 
would not pay to Peter Catherall, its keeper, the 
trifling fee of 3s. 9d. to which he was, by long custom, 
entitled for putting it up and taking it down. 
Catherall got rid of the hand to a person named 
Wilkinson, and he ' sold it for two pints of Ale at 
the sign of the Boot, in the city of Chester, on 27th 
Nov. 1886,' says Mr. Gatty in the columns of the 
Sheaf, 'The Glove,' as it was commonly called, was 
then in the Mayer Museum, Liverpool. 

There were at different times twenty-five trading 
companies in Chester, of some of which mention 
has already been made. It would be impossible 
to give details of all of them, but a few points may 
be mentioned concerning some of the more interest- 
ing. The Weavers Company was one of the oldest 
and the most turbulent also. * Whenever a riot took 
place,' says Canon Morris, ' a large proportion, we 
may be sure, of the rioters was supplied by the many 
branches of trade included in that craft or closely 

215 



r 



The City allied to it,^ and he gives a full account of one special 
of riot — horribilis (iffraia^ in the Latin of the day — 

Chester which took place on Corpus Christi Day, 1358. The 
JoYNERs, Cakvers AND TuKNERs, already mentioned, 
formed a joint company and deserve to be held in 
remembrance as the originators of those fine half- 
timbered houses in which Chester was once so rich 
and of which a few still remain. There was a com- 
pany of Fishmongers who held their meetings at one 
time in a house near the Cross. The Barbers 
Chirurgeons were, one would think most incongru- 
ously, united into a common company with the Wax 
AND Tallow Chaundlers. Unaer the auspices of 
this company the medical men of Chester for years 
practised, though it was not impossible apparently, 
even in times of such strict ti'ade-unionism, to obtain 
leave to minister to the sick without being a member 
of the company. In 1602, during the mayoralty of 
Hugh Glaseour, * Nathaniel Woodward, a Chirurgion, 
exhibited his peticion to be admitted into the liber- 
ties and ffranchess of this citie ; whose suite is 
graunted, in respecte he is though te to be a neede- 
ful member, havinge done many good Cures within 
this Citie, payinge for such his admittance ffyve 
poundes.' The Company of Painters, Glasiers, 
Imbroderers, and Stacioners who met in the Phoenix 
Tower, like other companies, was very vigorous in 
maintaining what it believed to be its rights. How 
far such companies were prepared to push their privi- 
leges is shown by a resolution arrived at as late as 
1713, when complaint was made by one of the 
Stationers' members that two * Ironmongers,' into 
whose hands a number of books had come, by the 
death of their owner, were proposing to ' sell or 
dispose of the aforesaid parcell of Books, by Auction 
2i6 



or otherwise, within the liberties of the Citty ; and 
neither of them having served any Apprenticeship to 
the trade of a Stacioner, or being free of ye said Com- 
pany.' It was actually decided to take action at law to 
prevent these men selling a lot of second-hand books, 
many, perhaps all, of which had in the first instance 
been sold by members of the Stationers' Company to 
their deceased owner. Another extraordinary mixture 
of trades in one company was that of Linen-Drapeus 
AND Bricklayers, at whose expense was maintained 
the Midsummer Show of Balaam and Balaam's Ass. 
The Cappers, Pinners, Wire Drawers and Linen- 
Drapers formed a company in 1705, the company 
previously mentioned having existed a century earlier. 
The Drawers in Dee was another old company 
which had rights over the river from the Old Bridge 
at Chester to the rocks at Brewers Hall and Blacon, 
with the fishery of what was in the sixteenth century 
called the Lake of Blacon. At one period of its history 
the Brewi:rs were joined to it as also the company of 
Water Leaders or carriers. The rigorous protec- 
tionist policy of these companies must often, one 
would imagine, have been most inconvenient to the 
citizens, and indeed the regulations which they made 
at times infringed not only the civic ordinances but 
the statute law of the land, so that steps had to be 
taken to curb and limit their operations. In 1528 
we find the corporation up in arms against the action 
of the companies, and issuing an order designed to 
check them. The grammar of the order is sadly to 
seek, but its meaning is plain enough, ' the ixth day 
of Aprill, in the xxti yere of the Reign of Kinge 
Henrye the eght. It was enacted and ordret by hugh 
Aldersey, mayre of the Cytye of Chester, & by the 
xxiiij'ti Aldermen, And by the hole consayle of the 

217 



Munici- 
pal Insti- 
tutions 



f 



The City Saide Cytie, that no man^ of occupacons w^tin the 
of Citie of Chester shall not make no ordin^ncs Amongst 

Chester them selues cons'nynge ther occupac^ons, Contrary e 
to the Common welth of the Saide citie. And if 
They or ony of them Any Such ordynannces make, 
that it be not mayde Amongest their Selues w'*tout 
the counsayle of the mayre of the Citie for ye tyme 
beinge, & of his brethrem. And those ordn'nc^s to 
be vnder the Seall of Office, vpon the payne of for- 
feiture of xFs. as oft as it so can Be prouid. That is 
to wyt, the one haulfe therof Vnto the Sheriffs of the 
Seyde Citie, and the other half unto the comman 
boxe.' As at Coventry so at Chester, the pageants, 
shows and mystery plays were carried out at the 
expense of the trading companies, who took great 
pride in their exhibitions, and spent much money 
over them. There were two special times for shows, 
namely Midsummer Day and Whitsunday. The former 
show, less interesting by far than the other, was 
merely a pageant or procession something like the 
Lord Mayor"'s Show of our own day. It seems to 
have been instituted in 1498, and there is an agree- 
ment in existence between the mayor and two artists 
* for the annual painting of the city'^s four giants, one 
unicorn, one dromedarye, one luce, one camel, one 
asse, one dragon, six hobby-horses, and six naked boys.' 
The mayor of 1599, ' a godly and zealous man,' seems 
to have taken offence at some parts of this show, for 
he caused * the gyauntes to be broken and not to goe ; 
the devil in his feathers' — this must have been a choice 
piece — * to be put awaye, and the cuppes and Cannes 
and the dragon and the naked boys.' However he 
appears to have permitted some sort of a show to 
have taken place, for he caused a man in complete 
armour to go in their stead. During the unhappy 
218 



I 



time when Puritanism thought it advisable to sit Munici- 
upon the safety-valve of innocent amusement, these pal Insti- 
shows were suspended to come forth with renewed tutions 
vigour at the Restoration. They were finally abol- 
ished in 1677. '1677. June 7. The ancient mid- 
summer shews ordered to be abolished from that time 
forwards,' runs the quotation given by Ormerod. 

The mystery plays of Chester, like those of Coven- 
try, of such surpassing interest in the history of the 
stage, were performed on the Monday, Tuesday, and 
Wednesday after Whitsunday, and were said to have 
been composed by the celebrated Ranulph Higden, a 
monk of Chester and author of the Polychraiiicon^ 
who is moreover supposed, traditionally, to have 
made three journeys to the Pope in order to obtain 
permission for their performance. A good idea of 
the method of performance of these dramas may be 
gathered from the following account of an eye-witness, 
Archdeacon Robert Rogers, an early Cestrian anti- 
quary. He says : ' The maner of these playes weare 
— every company had his pagiant, or parte, which 
pagiants weare a high scafolde with 2 rowmes, a 
higher and a lower, upon 4 wheeles. In the lower 
they apparelled themselves, and in the higher rowme 
they played, being all open on the tope, that all 
behoulders mighte heare and see them. The places 
where they played them was in every streete. They 
begane first at the abbay gates (before the abbot 
and his brethren), and when the first pagiante was 
played, it was wheeled to the highe crosse before the 
mayor, and so to every streete ; and soe every street 
had a pagiant playinge before them at one tyme, 
till all the pagiantes for the daye appoynted weare 
played; and when one pagiant was neere ended, 
worde was brought from streete to streete, that soe 

219 




The City the mighte come in place thereof, excedinge orderlye. 
of and all the streetes have theire pagiantes afore them 

Chester all at one tyme playeinge togeather; to se which 
playes was great resorte, and also scafoldes and stages 
made in the streetes in those places where they deter- 
mined to play their pagiantes.^ As before mentioned 
the different shows were provided by the various com- 
panies of Chester, and the following table, from 
Fenwick's History^ exhibits their distribution, in 
time, and amongst the different guilds as well as 
the subjects, which, it will be noted, were all 
scriptural. 

WHIT-MONDAY 



I. Barkers and Tanners. 
II. Drapers and Hosiers. 

III. Drawers of Dee and 

Water Leaders. 

IV. Barbers^ Wax-Chaund- 

lers and Leeches. 
V. Cappers^ Wire-Drawers, 

and Pinners. 
VI. Wrights, Slaters, Tylers, 
Daubers and Thatchers. 
VII. Paynters, Bootherers and 

Glaziers. 
VIII. Vintners and Merchants. 

IX. Mercers and Spisers. 



The Fall of Lucifer. 
Creation of the World. 
Noe and his Shippe. 

Abraham and Isaac. 

King Balak and Balam with 

Moses. 
The Nativity of our Lord. 

The Shepherds* Offering. 

King Herod and the Mounte 

Victorial. 
The Three Kings of Coline. 



WHIT-TUESDAY 

I. Gouldsmiths and Masons. The Slaying of the Children 

by Herod. 
II. Smiths, Forbers and Purification of our Lady. 
Pewterers. 

III. Bouchers. The Pinackle,with the Woman 

of Canaan. 

IV. Glovers and Parchment- The Arising of Lazarus from 

makers. Death to Life. 

220 



V. Corvesers and Shoe- The Coming of Christ to Munici- 



makers. Jerusalem. 

VI. Boyers, Flechers, Strin- The Scourging of Christ, 
gers^ Coopers and 
Torners. 

VII. Bakers and Millners. Christe's Maundye with His 

Disciples. 

VIII. Ironmongers and Ropers. The Crucifieinge of Christ. 

IX. Cookes, Tapsters^ Host- The Harrowinge of Hell, 
lers and Innkeepers. 



pal Insti- 
tutions 



WHIT-WEDNESDAY 

I. Skynners^ Cardmakers^ The Resurrection. 
Hatters, Poynters and 
Girdlers. 
II. Sadlers and Fusters. 



The Castell of Emmaus and 

the Apostles. 
Ascension of Christ. 
Whit-Sonday — the making of 

the Creed. 
Profetts afore the Day of 
Dome. 
VI. Hewsters and Bell-foun- Antichriste . 

ders. 
VII. Weavers and Walkers. Domesday. 



III. The Taylors. 

IV. Fishmongers. 

V. Shermin. 



One thing which strikes the reader of such a list 
is that the people who conceived, carried out, and 
watched such a series of performances must have had 
a much greater knowledge of scripture history than 
some have been willing to concede, otherwise they 
would, at least the last class of them, have been 
wholly unable to understand what was being shown 
to them. The fact is that in the ages before printing, 
shows of this kind, with the pictured incidents of 
sacred history on the walls and in the windows of 
the churches, together with the instruction there 
afforded, gave people a much greater knowledge of 

221 



i 



The City scriptural occurrences, as we are now beginning to 
of understand, than was at one time regarded as possible. 

Chester It would be tedious to rehearse here the lists of pro- 

Eerties, etc., provided for these plays. The minute- 
ooks of the different companies contain many orders 
on this point, and they have been frequently quoted 
in articles and books on the rise of the drama. 
Banes or orders to appear were recited before the 
pagiantes took place, of which the following may 
serve as examples : — 

' Cappers and lynnen drapers, see that you fourth brings 

In well decked order, that worthie storie 
Of Balaam and his asse, and of Balacke the Kinge ; 
Make the asse to spake, and sett yt out lively e.' 

^ The appearinge angell and starr upon Christes beirth 
To sheppheardes poore, of base and lowe degree. 
You Painters and Glasiers decke out with all meirth. 
And see that Gloria in excelsis be songe merelye. 
Fewe wordes in that pageante makes meirth truly. 
For all that the alter had to stande uppon. 
Was glory to God above, and peace on earth to man.* 

Although Whitsuntide was the great season for the 
performance of these plays, they were not wholly con- 
fined to that time. At Christmas, especially, and at 
other great feasts of the church, the pagiants would 
be wheeled out and the mystery appropriate to the 
season exhibited. After nearly three centuries of 
existence these performances came to an end as one 
of the results of the Reformation. They appear to 
have smacked too much of Catholicity to be wholly 
satisfactory after its overthrow, or perhaps it was 
thought better for the sake of peace not to remind 
people too vividly of the old and proscribed religion. 
Whatever may have been the reason they came to an 

222 



end in 1574, save for a performance, out of due time, Munici- 
mentioned in the next year by Ormerod. ' 1575. — pal Insti- 
I'hiii year Sir John Savage caused the Popish plays of tutions 
Chester to be played the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, 
and Wednesday after Midsummer Day, in contempt 
of an inhibition from York and from the Earl of 
Huntingdon. For which cause he was served by a 
pursuivant from York the same day that the new 
Mayor was elected as they came out of the common- 
hali; 





GOD'S'PROVIDENCE.'HOU S E, t 



CHAPTER XI 



AMUSl!:MEN'rS i 



CHESTER, like 
all other cities 
of ancient history,bas 
its record of ancient 
sports, amusements, 
and customs, most of 
them now defunct, a 
few continued under 
altered circumstances. 
Some of these, like 
the Whitsuntide and 
Midsummer shows, 
dealt with in the last 
chapter, belonged to 
special times of the 
year, others had no regular season. The great 
ceremony of Christmas time was that of the setting 
of the watch on the eve of Christmas. There is a 
letter extant, printed in the Cheshire Sheaf, which 
gives a good account of how this ceremony was 
carried out in the reign of Charles ii. The justices 
of the peace, the aldermen and the members of the 
p 225 




1 he City Common Council met at the mayor^s house at six 
of o'^clock in the evening, and then the mayor, recorder, 

Chester and justices of the peace in their scarlet gowns, pro- 
ceeded, attended with lights and torches and accom- 
panied by the local gentry to the City Hall. ' And 
beeing sate there (where usually is a great concourse 
of people) Silence beeing com''anded, the Customary 
Tenants of the Citty are then called to doe theire 
services : who, by persons for them, appeare in armes 
to watch and guard the Cittie for that night.' After 
this call-over the recorder made a speech, extolling 
the antiquity of the city. After this the keys of the 
city gates were handed to the mayor and given by 
him to those of the watchmen whom he might choose 
for the task of keeping guard for the night. The 
wl)ole party then adjourned to the mayor'*s house. 
' And after a collation there had, depart with their 
liglit torches to theire severall habitac'ons, and the 
watchmen to their guards.** The same ceremonies, 
with the exception of the recorder's speech, which 
only took place on Christmas Eve, occurred on the 
next two nights. No doubt there was a good deal of 
carousing at the mayor's collation, and the same 
might be said about the breakfasts on Christmas 
morning, to which a stop was put by order of the 
mayor in 1556. The order states that ' divers of the 
worshipfuU of this Citie haue caused breckfasts to 
be made in ther houses vpon Christenmas daie in the 
mornynge Before dyuyne s'uice ended. By reasone 
wherof manye dysorderid p'sons haue vsed them- 
selues Rayther all the daye after idillie in vyse 
wantonnes, then yeuen themselves holy to contem- 
placion and prayre.' Consequently such breakfasts 
are to be discontinued, and it is suggested that the 
money which would have been expended upon them 
226 



should be given to the poor. In the same order, it is Amuse- 
forbidden for mummers to go about the city, or for ments 
persons to walk the streets with their faces covered or and 
disguised. So that if this order was obeyed, two old Customs 
customs seem to have come to an end in the year 
just mentioned. However, eleven years afterwards 
there arose a mayor, one Richard Dutton, Esq., who 
must have had less rigorous ideas as to the keeping 
of Christmas, for it is stated of him that ' he kepte 
howse at the Whyte Freeyers, and in all the twelue 
dayes of Christmas kepte open howse for meate 
and drynke, at meale tyme, for any that came. All 
the Christmas tyme was a Lo : of Misrule.** In later 
years it seems to have been a custom to give the 
unfortunate debtors confined in the city gaol a feed 
at Christmas time. The following expression of 
thanks on the part of the debtors, sent to the Chester 
Chronicle of 1823, might have been drawn up by the 
gentleman who composed the farewell address to Mr. 
Dorrit from the dwellers in the Marshalsea. ' The 
Debtors in the City Gaol beg respectfully to return 
thanks to the Sheriffs for the very liberal treat they 
gave them of roast beef, plum pudding, and excellent 
ale, on Christmas Day ; and if anything can enhance 
the value of the gift, it is the handsome manner in 
which Mr. Sheriff Ducker ordered the distribution. 
They also return their thanks to Lord Grosvenor for 
his gift of two guineas, and to Lord Belgrave for his 
gift of one guinea, and to Sir John Grey Egerton for 
his liberal present this day of two guineas — acts of 
munificence like these speak volumes in their honour.' 
Another custom, the origin of which is doubtful, that 
of ' lifting,' is now extinct. It is, or was, up to a 
few years ago, prevalent in certain parts of England, 
and wherever it is practised is an unmitigated 

227 



r 



The City 
Chester 



nuisance to the unwary stranger, however much it 
may amuse the natives who practise it. The custom 
consists in seizing upon every passer-by and lifting 
him up in a chair, or throwing him up in the air — 
the former seems to have been the method pursued at 
Chester — the victim only being released when he has 
given some money to be expended in liquor. As a 
general rule the men had one day on which they 
hoisted women, and the women in turn had their day 
on which they repaid the compliment to the men. 
St. George's Day was a public holiday, on which 
much rejoicing took place. Somewhere in the six- 
teenth century — the late Mr. T. Hughes thought 
prior to 1550 — races were held on this day on the 
Roodeye, and certainly early in the eighteenth cen- 
tury there was a prize run for under the name of 
St. George's Plate, of which the Chester Cup seems 
to be the lineal descendant. It is perhaps hardly 
necessary to mention the Chester Race Meeting, 
the modern representative of this ancient assembly. 
Maypoles, with the dances associated with them, were 
not wanting in Chester, and attracted the particular 
attention of Washington Irving when he visited this 
country. In his Sketch-Book^ he says : — ' I shall 
never forget the delight I felt on first seeing a 
May- pole. It was on the banks of the Dee, close 
by the picturesque old bridge that stretches across 
the river from the quaint little city of Chester. I 
had already been carried back into former days by 
the antiquities of that venerable place, the examina- 
tion of which is equal to turning over the pages of 
a black-letter volume, or gazing on the pictures in 
Froissart. The May-pole on the margin of that 
poetic stream completed the illusion. My fancy 
adorned it with wreaths of flowers, and peopled the 
228 



green bank with all the dancing revelry of May-day. 
The mere sight of this May-pole gave a glow to my 
feelings, and spread a charm over the country for the 
rest of the day ; and as I traversed a part of the fair 
plains of Cheshire, and the beautiful borders of 
Wales, and looked from among swelling hills down 
a long green valley, through which " the Deva wound 
its wizard stream,^' my imagination turned all into a 
perfect Arcadia.' There seem to have been at least 
two maypoles in Chester, the older one standing per- 
manently at the fork of the Eccleston and Ha warden 
roads, and a later rival at the bottom of Sty-Lane, 
Handbridge. Two maypoles are marked in Lavaux's 
Map, dated 1745. Passing from these festivities of 
special seasons, there was a jousting- croft, where 
tournaments took place, which according to Canon 
Morris was situated just beyond Cow Lane Bridge, 
between the canal and the bowling-green. The 
archery butts, were, says the authority just quoted, 
in the same place. Mention has already been made 
of the regulations for compelling children to learn 
the use of the bow and arrow, a piece of knowledge at 
one time as useful as acquaintance with a rifle now is. 
There are many records concerning this sport, if that 
can be called sport, which might at any time become 
deadly earnest. Amongst others is a collection of 
rules made in 1562, in which elaborate directions are 
made in order to provide for the proper use of the 
butts, to prevent them being too long engrossed by 
any particular users, forbidding use during time of 
divine service, etc. One of these rules may be quoted 
as showing the paternal manner in which the civic 
authorities looked after the citizens, a form of grand- 
motherly government which it is difficult to imagine 
to-day. ' no p'son Shall Speake any Bragginge 

229 



Amuse- 
ments 
and 
Customs 




The City words to another (as to say *^ yf thow darr Shoote 
of with me, or darr bett with me "") w'*eh woords be 

Chester often tymes occasion of Inconvenience, vpon payne of 
ev'*ye tyme so doynge to paye o-ijd."* 

Less laudable and far more cruel sports found a 
home in Chester as in all other parts of the island. 
Cock fighting gave its name to a piece of rising 
ground outside the walls, towards the end of Cow 
Lane, which was known as Cockfight Hill. In 1619 
William, Earl of Derby, made ^ a fair cockpitt under 
St. John"*s, in a garden by the water side, to which 
resorted gent of all parts, and great cocking was used 
a long while.' The last public cockpit set up in the 
city seems to have been that near the New Gate, after- 
wards used as the headquarters of the Rifle Volun- 
teers. The following advertisement reprinted in the 
Sheaf from the Weekly Courant of April 5-12, 1738, 
shows the scale on which these exhibitions were 
carried out. 

Chester, April 5, 1738. 

'This is to give Notice that the Gentlemen of 
Cheshire, and the Gentlemen of Flintshire, will 
Weigh upon Monday, the 24th of this instant April 
at Chester, Thirty-one Cocks each, for Ten Guineas 
a Battle, and Two Hundred the Main, and Ten 
Cocks for Bye Battles ; they will be fought the four 
following Mournings, at the AVhite Talbot Cock-Kt.' 
After cock-fighting was discredited by the city magis- 
trates, badger-baiting appears to have been per- 
mitted as a comparatively innocent amusement. The 
Chester Chronicle of February 28, 1787, records the 
fact that the bell-man of the city on Shrove-Tuesday 
proclaimed that * no person or persons must presume to 
throw at or fight cocks on that day,' a pronouncement 
230 



^ 



immediately followed by another that ' at two o'clock 
in the afternoon there would be baited by dogs a 
large badger.' Bull-baiting was a popular sport, and 
the mayor was expected to provide a performance of 
this kind as a part of his entertainment on retiring 
from office. Hardware, the mayor of 1599-1600 
ordered the bull-ring to be taken up, but it was 
restored by his successor, and in 1619 there was 'a 
bull baytinge at the high crosse the 2nd daye of 
October according to Auncient Custome for Mr. 
Mayor's farewell out of his office.' In earlier days 
bear-baiting was one of the Chester amusements, and 
a street called Bearward Lane, affords an evidence of 
the former existence of this form of sport. 

Balls and assemblies are a gentler form of amuse- 
ment more patronised as public amusements in the 
eighteenth century than they are now. The new 
Assembly Rooms in which these entertainments took 
place was at the Talbot Hotel, whose site is occupied 
by the Grosvenor Hotel of present days. The sub- 
scription to the winter assemblies was for gentlemen, 
one guinea and a half, and for ladies fifteen shillings. 
For the assize ball, gentlemen paid three shillings 
and sixpence for admission and one shilling for tea, 
and ladies two shillings and sixpence for the former 
and sixpence for the latter. 

After the description which has been given of the 
life of the city, we may turn our attention to the 
houses in which its inhabitants lived, and especially 
to those of them which remain to this day. Earliest 
amongst these objects are the crypts which still exist 
under some of the houses. These date from the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and when first dis- 
covered, were believed to have been of a religious 
nature, so able an observer as Dr. Rock, the author 

231 



Aniuse- 
ments 
and 
Customs 



r 



The City of Hierurgia^ maintaining that they were private 
of oratories. They have since been carefully examined 

Chester by Mr. John Hewitt, who has written a paper on the 
subject in the Journal of the Chester Historical and 
Archaeological Society. These crypts are vaulted, 
the earlier with only transverse, the later with 
diagonal ribs, and they are connected internally with 
the houses by flights of stairs. The oldest is that in 
Bridge Street, which is forty-two feet six inches in 
length, fifteen feet three inches in width, and fourteen 
feet six inches from the present floor to the top of 
the groining ribs. According to Mr. Hewitt, the 
present floor is not the original one, for that was only 
two feet six inches below the level of the street, 
giving the room a height of ten feet. At some late 
date an additional four feet were obtained by cutting 
out the rock on which the crypt was built, for that 
depth. When this was done the circular-shaped steps, 
now to be seen, were cut out of the natural rock. 
The crypt is lighted by a triple lancet window, with 
a transom, on either side of which is an aumbry or 
cupboard. From the position which these occupy 
they were evidently constructed when the floor was at 
its earlier and higher level, as they are now too high 
up to be of much use. The door to the staircase is 
of early English date with a tref oiled head. 

The most interesting crypt is that in Watergate 
Street, in the occupation of Messrs. Quellyn, Roberts, 
and Co., who kindly permit visitors to inspect it (see 
tailpiece to this chapter). Though stated to have 
been built by Ranulph Blundeville in 1180, its date 
is really about a century later, the architecture being 
that of the period of the end of Henry iii.'s reign, 
after the rise of decorated Gothic, but before its full 
development. It is double vaulted, and has a row of 
232 



columns in the centre, and thus diflPers from the other The 
existing crypts, though up to 1861 there was a similar Crypts 
building in the crypt demolished in that year, on the 
erection of new buildings in Eastgate Street. This 
crypt is forty-four feet in length, exactly half that 
measurement in width, and eleven feet in height. It 
is entered from the street end, through two arches 
formed in the original external wall, and access to the 
house above was gained by a doorway in the south 
wall, still remaining and exhibiting a curious taper- 
ing in the width of the internal opening. There are 
three cupboards in this crypt. The door of entrance 
to the house above has been spoken of, but in- 
correctly, as a communication with the single crypt 
already described in Bridge Street. 

Eastgate Street crypt is under Crypt Chambers, 
and was built within one hundred years of the com- 
pletion of the one in Bridge Street, according to Mr. 
Hewitt. It is forty-two feet seven inches in length, 
thirteen feet ten and a half inches in width, and 
thirteen feet high. The bold groining ribs of the 
roof spring from delicately moulded corbels, and are 
intersected at the apex by a continuous longitudinal 
rib. In the east wall is an opening which once led to 
the circular staircase, giving access to the principal 
floor above. The entrance doorway from the street 
is not early English, and has been altered in no 
special style, but the two single- lancet windows are 
original. 

From these partially subterranean rooms we pass 
to another class of house more peculiar to Chester 
than those which have just been under consideration. 
These are the colonnaded houses, of which several are 
still to be seen, notable examples occurring in Fore- 
gate and other streets. In these houses the upper 

233 



r 



The City stories overhang the lower to a very considerable 
of extent. A certain amount of overhanging is often 

Chester seen, and was at one time a common, if not a constant, 
feature of the half-timbered houses of towns and 
cities. It allowed a larger amount of house room 
with a smaller amount of ground-area, than was 
possible by any other method save that of running 
the dwelling up for a great number of stories. And 
it was rendered possible by the comparatively light 
weight of the materials used in building. There are, 
of course, examples of this kind of edifice in Chester, 
and must, at an earlier date, have been many more. 
But in the colonnaded houses the upper story projects 
so far that it is no longer possible for its weight to 
be supported without props passing down to the 
ground. Hence the front rests upon a series of 
pillars, and the pathway passes under the first floor 
of the house. As the windows of the ground floor 
are on the opposite side of the footpath to that on 
which the supporting pillars are to be found, the 
person looking into them or walking p€ist them is 
completely under cover. Place a number of such 
houses in series and a colonnade is formed. Put this 
colonnade on the top of a row of one-storied houses, 
add steps at intervals so that ready access may be 
provided to the upper pathway, and you have the 
celebrated Rows of Chester. These elevated colon- 
nades which are so characteristic a feature of Chester, 
almost if not quite unique, have always attracted a 
great deal of attention, and Ilave been the subject of 
two lengthy and interesting papers in the Journal of 
the Chester Archaeological Society. Many eflbrts have 
been made to describe this peculiar arrangement. 
Lysons'^s Chester says that * the general appearance of 
these rows is as if the first stories in front of all the 

234 



% 



houses had been laid open, and made to cornmunicate The 
with each other,' Dr. Howaon puts the same idea Rows 
into different words, when he writes of them as public 




IntheJiow 
Watergate Jt 



highways 'passing through the front part of the 
drawing-rooms, on the first floor, of a senes of houses, 
the windows being taken out, while the inner parts 
of these drawing-rooms are converted into shops ; the 
bedrooms being overhead, and the passengers walking 
over the rooms of the gi'ound story ; these rooms 
again having been turned into shops.' As regards 
the date of their original erection, it may first be 
mentioned that neither Giraldus Camhresis (12-I3c) 
235 



The City whose account of Chester has already been mentioned, 
of nor Higden (13-1 4c) make any statements which 

Chester would lead one to suppose that the Rows or anything 
resembling them were in existence when they wrote. 
Canon Morris says that the first indication of the 
Rows in the city records is in 1331, mention being 
made in that year of Ironmongers'* Row, Baxter Row, 
and Cooks^ Row. He also points out that the follow- 
ing extracts prove that these were rows of the type 
of which we are now speaking, and not merely lines 
of houses. 1420 : ' William Hope gives to Robert 
le Vernon, Tailour, a shop under Flesshener Rowe 
in Watergate Street/ 1498-9 : * Johanna Steyner, 
widow, and Margeria Bower, widow, are fined, 4d. 
each for making a fire in their solars, and the smoke 
there ascends up to the Mercers' Rowe to the great 
nuisance of their neighbours and the passers by.' 
When the Vale Royal was written the Rows were 
a feature of the time, for the account given in that 
book runs: — *The buildings of the city are very 
ancient ; and the houses builded in such sort that 
a man may go dry from one place of the city to 
another, and never come in the street, but go as it 
were in galleries, which they call the Roes; which 
have shops on both sides, and underneath, with divers 
fair stairs to go up or down into the street ; which 
manner of building I have not heard of in any other 
place of Christendom. Some will say that the like 
is at Padua in Italy; but that is not so, for the 
houses at Padua are built as the suburbs of the city be, 
that is, upon the ground, upon posts, that a man may 
go dry underneath them, like as they are at Billings- 
gate in London, but nothing like to the Roes.' In 
another place the same book describes the Mercers' 
Row. ' It is a goodly sight to see the numbers of fair 
236 



shops that are in these Rowes, of mercers, grocers. The 
drapers, and haberdashers, especially in the street called Rows 
the Mercers'* Row ; which street with the Bridge Street 
(being all one street) reaches from the high cross to 
the bridge, in length 380 paces of geometry, which is 
above a quarter of a mile.' Thoresby, the Leeds 
historian, being in Chester in 1682, on a visit to a 
relative, has left in his diary an account of the Rows. 
Speaking of the Pentice, he says that there is from it 
' a curious prospect into the four best streets : in 
all which, and, indeed, most of the city, we may pass 
through the rows in a stormy day without the least 
rain or prejudice. It is a sort of building peculiar 
to this city, the like they say not being to be seen in 
Europe again ; they are as walls chambered above, 
and cellared below, with shops mostly on both sides.' 
Camden's Britcmnia and Stukeley in his Itinerary 
both mention the Rows, and the latter writer gives 
it as his opinion that they are the remains of the 
Roman porticoes. It is somewhat curious that 
Leland gives no account of a town which he evidently 
visited, and which must have interested him so much, 
but such is the case. He commences at one point an 
account of the bridge, and there he stops. Probably 
he meant to complete his account of the city at some 
other time, but never carried out his intention. 
However, he does incidentally mention the Rows 
in connection with his account of Bridgnorth, 
which he tells us was possessed of similar buildings, 
though it is not clear from the passage, that the 
Bridgnorth Rows were not merely lines of colonnaded 
shops. Whether the Rows are absolutely unique 
in Europe is a disputed point, some having found 
parallels which others have refused to accept. Canon 
Morris says that the main street in Thun, Switzer- 

237 



i 



The City land, which has, on either side, a double row of 
of shops, one above the other, most nearly resembles 

Chester the arrangement met with in Chester. Most persons 
who have described them have given the arrangement 
the praise which it deserves, for that it does deserve 
praise will hardly be disputed by any one who has had 
to go shopping on a wet day, and has experienced the 
satisfaction of being able to go about his business 
dry-footed and under cover. But there is at least 
one discordant note quoted by Dr. Brushfield from 
Bryce's Grand Gazetteer (1759) where that writer 
says * This was once reckoned the Glory, but is now 
the Disgrace and Deformity of Chester; for tho** 
People are effectually kept from Wet when it rains, 
hereby, etc., yet the Houses are hereby lessened, 
whose Fronts would otherwise come out into the 
Streets as far as those Galleries ; and the Shops are 
all so dark and close that a Stranger riding thro** c€ui 
see none; and His otherwise very incommodious."* 
The area occupied by the Rows is a definite one. 
They are to be found on both sides of Upper Bridge 
Street from AVhite Friars and from St. MichaeFs 
Church on the other; on both sides of Watergate 
Street as far as Weaver and Crook Streets ; on both 
sides of Eastgate Street; and finally in Northgate 
Street on the east side as far as the first entry. On 
the west the Row has been removed and a colonnade 
replaces it. This area corresponds, curiously, says 
Canon Morris, with that which some authorities have 
maintained to be the original limit of the Roman 
Castra, before it was extended first by the Romans 
themselves, and secondly by Aethelflaed, when she 
built the Walls of Chester, and enclosed a greater 
circuit. However much the city was enlarged, there 
can be no doubt that the greatest buildings and 
238 



the fairest edifices, temples and the like, would be The 
clustered round the Praetorium, which in after years Rows 
came to be the headquarters of the Mediaeval Age — 
the High Cross with the Pentice Court for civic 
business, and the pillory and stocks for public 
punishment. Various theories have been put forward 
to explain these curious buildings, for it is obvious 
that to say that they are colonnades erected on 
a row of one-storied shops does not account for 
their existence. Why this method should have been 
adopted is another matter, and it is not one which 
is easy to clear up. One view is that the Rows are 
the direct descendants of the Roman porticoes, as 
Stukeley believed. This theory has little to commend 
it, for we know quite definitely that Chester was in a 
ruinous state for a long time after the Romans left 
it, and, even had they possessed such buildings, for 
which there is no evidence, they must almost certainly 
have disappeared, long before the erection of the 
predecessors of the Rows which we now have. Others 
have suggested that the level of the roadway of the 
four principal streets of the city in which the Rows 
exist has gradually become depressed, so that the 
Rows themselves represent its original position. 
This view is put out of court by the fact that dis- 
coveries of Roman remains have proved that the 
present level of the road is at least not lower than 
it was in Roman times. A third theory, which may 
also be dismissed, is that which accounts for the 
Rows by supposing that they were so constructed to 
afford a ready means of providing street fortifications 
against the incursions of the Welsh. This is the 
view adopted by Borrow, who, in his Wild Wales 
says: — *The Chester row is a broad arched stone 
gallery running parallel with the street within the 

239 



i 



The City 

of 

Chester 



facades of the houses ; it is partly open on the side 
of the street, and just one story above it. Within 
the rowii, of which there are three or four, are shops, 
every shop being on that side which is Ceuiihest from 
the street. All the best shops in Chester are to be 
found in the rows. These rows, to which you ascend 
by stairs up narrow passages, were originally built 
for the security of the wares of the principal merchants 
against the Welsh. Should the mountaineers break 
into the town, as they frequently did, they might 
rifle some of the common shops, where their booty 
would be slight, but those which contained the 
necessary articles would be beyond their reach; for 
at the first alarm the doors of the passages, up which 
the stairs led, would be closed, and all access to the 
upper streets cut off, from the open arches of which 
missiles of all kinds could be discharged u]K>n the 
intruders, who would be soon glad to beat a retreat.** 
There is no evidence to show that the Welsh ever 
got inside Chester, though they raided and burnt 
Handbridge, its suburb. On the contrary we have 
every reason to suppose that the Walls and Gates 
were quite strong enough to keep out any such foe. 
Canon Morris thinks that though the Rows are not 
due to imitation of the Roman buildings, they are 
an indirect result of the Roman occupation or rather 
of the Roman withdrawal. His explanation of their 
origin, adopted by some, though it must be confessed 
that the evidence obtained from excavations renders 
it rather difKcult of acceptance, may now be quoted 
in order to conclude the consideration of this peculiar 
feature of Chester architecture. When, says this 
writer, after the long interval of comparative deso- 
lation extending over several centuries, and the 
alternating ravages of Saxon and Dane, Chester 
240 



I 



became, once more, under the firm rule of its Norman The 
earls, a city of settled inhabitants, and, for the sake Rows 
of its commanding position both from a military and 
commercial point of view, an increasing resort for 
merchants and traders, that same circumscribed area, 
to which reference has been made (as is the case in 
the city of London), would be the most valuable for 
trade. The course of the four streets would have 
been kept free and unencumbered for traffic even 
during Saxon and Danish times ; but along the line 
would remain the ruins of the dismantled Roman 
buildings, which as each century passed would have 
been covered more and more deeply with rubbish and 
soil. Traders would erect their shops along the level 
of the four main streets — Bridge Street, Watergate, 
Eastgate, and Northgate, which in mediaeval times were 
the only streets so called, all the other lines of traffic 
being called lones, or lanes, with the single exception 
of Pepper Street. At first these shops on the level of 
the street were not shops, but seldae^ mere sheds, often 
movable, such as those which were set up at the great 
Annual Fairs, and, as we learn from the agreement be- 
tween the Abbot of St. Werburgh and the Mayor of 
Chester, were to be removed immediately at the end 
of the Fair. But the frontage and position was a valu- 
able one, and other traders coming in would wish to en- 
joy the same advantage. What more natural than that 
they should erect on the higher ground formed of the 
debris of Roman buildings rising behind these seldae 
or traders'* sheds, their own places of business. Thesie 
new buildings, perhaps of a more permanent character, 
would have the advantage of facing the principal 
business streets. They would be the shopae^ of a 
better character than the seldae^ open rooms with wide 
openings closed with shutters. Each of these shopae 

a 241 



f 



The City would have its own stairway or ^ grese ** as in Lower 
of Bridge Street of the present day. The result would 

Chester be that, as in London, the several stories would be 
ill the occupation of different tradesmen — the lower, 
on the level of the street, would belong to one ; the 
upper, of better character, on a higher level, to 
another trader. There was also in mediaeval times 
a third, the lowest, the range of cellars, which were 
very common, and, as now, occupied by dealers in 
charcoal, coals, firewood, vegetables, etc. Thus, in 
each street, there would be a threefold series of 
business places, rising one above the other — the 
cellars, the seldae^ the shopae. The shopae in the 
row would not have, at first, any projection in front. 
But gradually, here and there, an enterprising trades- 
man would put up pillars in front of his establishment, 
carry forward his living apartments beyond the 
ordinary line, and at once enlarge his house and 
provide a permanent covering in front of his shop, 
with a sloping board for the display of his wares, 
so that the passer-by would have to run the gauntlet 
on both sides from his vigorous apprentices crying 
' What d' ye lack ? ' ' What 11 ye buy ? ' The Canon 
concludes by pointing out that an engraving of 1700 
shows that the Rows had not obtained the complete- 
ness of the present day, or even of Cuitfs time — 
some of the houses not extending over the passage of 
the Rows. The non-continuation of the line of Rows 
in the quarter occupied by the Town Hall and cathe- 
dral is accounted for (1) by the extension of the Abbey 
buildings and precincts which occupied the ground 
from early times; and (2) by the necessity for keep- 
ing free a large space for the great annual fairs which 
were held for several days in front of the Abbey Gate. 
A few from amongst the numerous old houses which 
242 



k 



Chester still possesses require special notice from Ancient 
their intrinsic merit, and from the interest which Houses 
they have for visitors to the city. Amongst these 

* God's Providence House ' in Watergate Street has 
long taken a first place. The edifice which strangers 
now view with such interest is not the ancient house 
but a new and much more ornate structure, erected 
in 186^5 and containing a few beams from the older 
edifice. The original building, shown in the initial 
to the next chapter, if we may trust to the date which 
it bore and which has been transferred to its modern 
representative, was erected in 1652, and bore on a 
beam under the principal window the inscription 

* God's Providence is mine inheritance."* A popular 
story states that this inscription was put up because 
the house which bore it was the only one spared by 
the plague. The plague, however, occurred five 
years before this house was built, and the inscription 
on it is not original or unique, for it is that which 
Richard Boyle, the * great ' Earl of Cork, chose for 
his motto in 1620. It is, or was, also over the door- 
way of Quirck's Almshouses at Minehead in Somerset. 
No more is required to account for its presence on 
this house than the supposition that its unknown 
owner desired, as others have done before and after 
him, to adorn his dwelling-place with a pious motto. 
Near to God's Providence House is another fine, 
though, of course, considerably restored example of 
half-timbered work, known as Bishop Lloyd's Palace, 
though it is doubtful whether it was the property of 
the prelate of that name. The date of the house is 
1615, which is the same as that of the death of the 
bishop. The panels on this house represent the Fall, 
Cain slaying Abel, Abraham offering up his son, the 
arms of James i., what are supposed to be the arms of 

243 




The City Bishop Lloyd, a Latin inscription with the date and 
of (?) Our Lady of Sorrows. This house, now occupied 

Chester by the Young Women'*s Christian Association, can 
be viewed, and contains several rooms with excellent 
plaster ceilings and good fireplaces. The Palace of 
the Stanley family is in a small court off Watergate 
Street, beyond Nicholas Street, and bears the date 
1591. It is perhaps the least altered of the old 
houses, and well worth seeing. It is of black and 
white architecture and has three gables. The furthest 
part from the road contains the hall, with a hiding- 
place upstairs and the entrance to an underground 
passage below. The middle part of the house was the 
kitchen, and above it is a room said to have been occu- 
pied several times by King Charles i. The Stanleys of 
Alderley held the Sergeantry of the Watergate, and 
in this house the Earl of Derby spent the day before 
his execution at Bolton. What remains of the 
GamuU house is in Bridge Street (GamuU Terrace), 
«and here Sir Francis Gamull entertained and lodged 
Charles i. during the Civil War. Sir Francis, who 
was then mayor of the city, was the son of Thomas 
Gamull, Recorder of Chester. It is not known 
whether he was a knight or a baronet, for there is, 
on account of the disturbed nature of the times, no 
record left of the dignity which was conferred upon 
him or of the date when he obtained it. As men- 
tioned in a previous chapter (p. €2) he was one of the 
six Commissioners,amongst those appointed to arrange 
terms for the surrender of Chester, who differed from 
the settlement eventually arrived at. On this account 
he suffered greatly in his estate, for he was removed 
by the Parliament from all the public offices which 
he held. The positions of other houses worthy of 
notice will be found in the Itinerary at the end of 

244 



the volume. There are some fine old inns still re- Ancient 
maiuing, of which perhaps the best is the Bear and Houses 




Billet ' in Lower Bridge Street ' ; a fine view of this 

house is obtained during the walk round the walls. 

' See fig. p, as*. 

245 



The City This inn was the mansion of the Earls of Shrewsbury, 
of who held a moiety of the sergeantry of the Bridge- 

Chester gate, which they purchased in 1660. The house 
appears to have been erected in 1664, and is a fine 
comparatively little-restored example of black and 
white work. In the angle of the gable may be seen the 
shutters of the opening into the storeroom for grain 
and suchlike articles of domestic use, occupying the 
position commonly assigned to that purpose in houses 
of this date. The ' Old King's Head," in the same street 
is another building which, though much restoi-ed, is of 
considerable interest. The same may be said of the 
* Edgar's Tavern,** also in Lower Bridge Street, at the 
corner of Shipgate Street, and of the ' Falcon,' of great 
interest in its design, in Bridge Street. The ' Yaxjht ' 
Inn,^ at the corner of Nicholas Street and Watergate 
Street, was once the principal hostelry in Chester, and 
is still a very intercsting house. It is said that Dean 
Swift once stayed in it on one of his journeys between 
London and Dublin. Further it is related that he 
asked the cathedral dignitaries to sup with him, but 
that with one consent they all made excuse. Annoyed 
at this the Dean scratched with the diamond of his 
ring, on one of the windows, a couplet not very com- 
plimentary either to the city or its clergy. 

^ Rotten without and mouldering within. 
The place and its clergy are all near akin.* 

The * Old Custom House' in Watergate Street, just 
below Weaver Street, dated 1637, is worth notice. The 
old *BluePosts Inn,"* famous for the story of the substitu- 
tion of a pack of cards for a warrant against Irish Protes- 
tants, is now a shop and is situated in Eastgate Street. 

This chapter may now be concluded by a brief 

^ See fig. p. 269. 
246 




account of the once famous port of Chester, from The 
which sailed, upon his disastrous voyage, King, the Port of 
hero of Milton'^s * Lycidas.'' That there was a very Chester 
free communication between Chester and Dublin has 
already been shown, and it may be added, as proving 
the frequency of communication with Irish ports, 
that in the eighteenth century, a freeman of Wexford, 
which, though now a place of little importance, once 
had some note as a port, was also free of Chester and 
Liverpool. Even in the beginning of that century 
the trade between Chester and Dublin was of import- 
ance, for in 1702, the mayor, aldermen and mer- 
chants of the city drew up a petition to Queen Anne, 
in which they state * that the Prosperity of the said 
Citty doth chiefly depend upon Trade at Sea and 
particularly to and from the Citty of Dublin and 
other parts of the Kingdome of Ireland. That in 
the time of War the Irish Channell is greatly infested 
with Privatiers, invited thither by the prospect of 
intercepting the Coale Fleetes, ana other ships with 
persons of great quality and very valuable goods, 
passing to and from that kingdome. . . . That your 
Petitioners, by the sad experience of their great and 
frequent losses during the last warr, have just reason 
to fear that they shal be utterly disabled to serve 
your Majesty or to carry on their Trade, unless due 
Provision be made for their security during the pre- 
sent warr with France.' The petition goes on to ask 
that a ship or ships of war may cruise constantly in 
the Channel for the protection of the Trade carried 
in ships from one country to the other. The regula- 
tions of the port in the time of Eadweard the Con- 
fessor are given in Domesday, where it appears that 
* if any ships came or departed to or from the port 
of the city without the King's license, the King and 

247 



t 



The City the Earl had from every man who was in them xl 
of shillings. If any ship came contrary to the King^s 

Chester command, and against his peace, then the King and 
the Earl had both ship, crew and all the cargo. But 
if she came in the king's peace and with his license 
then they who were in her peaceably sold all things 
as they had, but on the ship's departure the King 
and the earl had tenpence, from every last. If the 
ship had marten skins on board, the King"*s pre- 
fect might command the owners to sell to no one 
until they had been first shown to him.' The im- 
portance of Chester as a shipping place in the reign 
of Henry iv. is shown by the fact that at that period 
the mayor and sheriffs jointly held the office of 
admiral in the king's fleet, whilst in 1528, Henry 
viii.'s vice-admiral, by Letters Patent, declared that 
* the lands possessions and all and singular harbours 
within the dominions of the aforesaid liberty as well 
by land as by sea, viz., from Arnold's Eyre to Eaton 
Weir, also the tenants, farmers, and all other men 
all and singular within the same liberty have been 
and are fully exempt from all manner of jurisdiction 
and power of the Admiral of England and his officials 
whatsoever, so far that all punishments, corrections, 
Deodands, Waveson, Flotteson, Jotteson, and la- 
gason and wrecks, and all other casualties, contin- 
gencies whatsoever whensoever howsoever by land 
water and sea, with all and singular their appurten- 
ances within the aforesaid liberties are found to 
belong to the foresaid mayor and citizens of the fore- 
mentioned city of Chester, used moreover according to 
custom prescribed from time and for time immemorial."* 
Moreover, even in 1569, Liverpool, which has now so 
far outstripped its rival in the shipping interest, was 
still legally *a creek within the port of Chester.** 
248 



Here it should be noted that the * Port ** of Chester The 
included not merely that part of the Dee which is Port of 
near the city, but a much larger extent of water, even Chester 
as has been pointed out, the Mersey at Liverpool. 
In fact, at least in Elizabethan times, Parkgate, a 
small place some miles from Chester, on the Wirral 
Peninsula, was the main point of arrival and depar- 
ture. It was from here that 'Lycidas' King set sail. 
But the decay of the port, due to the gradual 
silting- up of the bed of the Dee, had commenced in 
much earlier days than these. In 1445 Henry vi., 
in Letters Patent, mentions that ' for forty years now 
last past it has been, that the great flow of water at 
the said port by which our merchants had a course 
and return with their ships and merchandise to our 
city is taken away from the harbour by the wreck 
of sea sand.' It is added that no merchant ship can 
approach within twelve miles of the city, and a 
remission of fifty pound of the annual fee-farm 
was made for fifty years. Again in the reign of 
Richard iii., the difficulty of access by any ship of 
burden is referred to in a charter of 1484. Efforts, 
assisted by the Queen and her Council, were made in 
the reign of Elizabeth to resuscitate the trade on the 
Dee. One hundred years later, in 1658, there are 
said to have been seventeen vessels trading with 
Dublin. In the 11th and 12th of William iii., an Act 
was passed by which powers were given to make the 
Dee fit for the navigation of vessels of one hundred 
tons burden. A further Act was passed in the reign 
of George ii., (1732-38) in which it is stated that the 
troubles of the port arise from ' the sands, soil and 
ground not bearing Grass, commonly called the 
White Sands, from the City of Chester to the sea and 
lying between the County of Chester off the North 

249 



TheCStj side and the County of Flint on the south side, of 
of ereat breadth in most places, and the said river not 

Chester being navigable is chiefly owing to the breadth of 
the said sands, and to the shifting of the Channel 
from one side thereof to the other as the winds and 
the tides vary.' The Act proceeds to state that these 
sands are not likely to be of any particular use, and 
empowers N. Kinderley and his assigns to keep the 
channel of the Dee navigable and to collect certain 
dues. No measures however have been successful 
in preventing the silting-up of the stream, and the 
deadly sands which have ruined Chester as a sea-port 
town can clearly be seen by travellers between that 
city and the coast of North Wales, particularly at 
low tide, as the train passes their wide banks ana the 
narrow channel of water which runs between them. 




r 



CHAPTER XII 



IN the course of the foregoing 
chapters occasion has been 
taken to mention some of the 
distinguished persons who have 
made the ancient city their home, 
temporary or permanent, during 
its long history. Of necessity, 
however, some names which must 
not be forgotten when a history, 
however brief, is being written of 
the city on the Dee, have been 
omitted or have received scant 
attention in previous pages. To 
these it is now proposed that 
some fuller meed of recognition 
shall be given. Of more or less 
permanent residents in the city 
the name of Henuv Bradshaw 
may first be mentioned. He 
was a monk of St. Werburgh's Abbey and also a 
native of the city. He wrote two works on Chester, 
De Antiquitate et Magnificentia UrUa Cestnae, 1513, 
253 




The City and a Life of St. Werburgh. Of very different 
1^' of character is his namesake John Bradshaw, the 

Chester regicide, once Chief-Justice of Chester. This indi- 
vidual was born at Marple in Cheshire and baptized 
in the parish church of Stockport, in the register 
of which appears the entry, 'December, 1602. — 
John, the sonne of Henrye Bradshaw of Marple, 
was baptized on the 10th,' with the addition in a 
later hand of the single word, * traitor.' Bradshaw 
was a student of Gray's Inn, was called to the bar 
in 1627, and practised his profession, says Milton, 
who was his friend, * with singular success.' Be that 
^ as it may, he first came into public note as the Pre- 

sident of the tribunal by order of which Charles i. 
was done to death. As a reward for his perform- 
ances on this occasion he was made permanent Pre- 
sident of the Council of State, Chancellor of the 
Duchy of Lancaster, and received the grant of estates 
amounting to the value of ^£^2000 per annum. It 
is, however, as Chief- Justice of Chester that he comes 
; under our notice here. One letter from him in this 

capacity has already been quoted, that in which he 
reports upon the failure of the 'Ingagement' and 
gives reasons for its want of success. Another letter 
transcribed from the Cowper mss., and given in the 
Sheafs was written shortly after he had been ap- 
pointed to the Chief- Justiceship, and a portion of 
it may be quoted here as conveying his views and 
intentions with regard to the city. It is endorsed 
' ffor the Right wor'p'U Mr. Robert Wright MaioV 
of Chester, this : postis payd,' and runs : 

Sir, — I rec'd one from you & 3 other Ald'rmen by 
this last Post w'ch is the first Tyme I hard from you 
synce I was by ye p'lyam't appoynted for y't service 
254 




of Chester' — part of the letter is here incompletely 
decipherable — *nor shall I be lesse affectionate to 
yoV Citie then any of my predecessors in Office haue 
bene, wherein I may doe you reall good : And I shall 
hope also That yoVself & ye othV Gouernors of ye 
Cytie & Assystants in OfFyce to you will be myndfuU 
of ye Cyties true welfare w'ch at pr'sent consysts in 
nothing more then in a CheerefuU & Constant com- 
plyance w'th ye Dyrections of plyam'^t & in them 
w'th ye Kingdomes true Interest w"'ch is the Duty & 
Dyscretyon of euery honest Englyshman to doe. 
And in so doing & not othVwyse no man shall more 
willingly comply w"'th you nor wysh himself more 
enabled to serue you, then yoV ola Acquayntance & 
wel wyshing fFryend, Jo : Beadshawe. 

Graves Inne, 1 Aug : 1648. 

'No friend to monarchy' as Whitelocke says of 
him, he was so convinced a republican as to get him- 
self into hot water with Cromwell, who made two 
attempts to deprive him of his Chief-Justiceship. 
After the death of the Protector he was made one 
of the Commissioners of the Great Seal. He strenu- 
ously objected to the seizure of the Speaker Lenthall, 
by the army, in the House of Commons. He died 
in 1659 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, 
but after the Restoration, his remains with those 
of Cromwell and Ireton were disinterred and hung 
on a gibbet. Proceeding in alphabetical order 
Randoi^h Caldecott, whose drawings were once so 
familiar to readers of the Christmas numbers of the 
Graphic and of the childrens' books illustrated by 
him, must next be mentioned. He was born at 
Chester in 1846 and educated at the King's School 
in that city. 

255 



Some 
distin- 
guished 
Cestrians 
and 

Visitors 
to the 
City 




The City 

of 

Chester 



George Currr, though bom at Richmond in York- 
shire, in 1779, is associated as an artist with the 
city of Chester, for there he settled himself as a 
drawing master in 1804. He published a number 
of etchings, that being the branch of art to which 
he principally devoted himself, representing the 
ancient buildings of Chester, as well as the castles 
of North Wales and the abbeys of Lancashire. 
Having, at the age of forty, made a sufficient income 
upon which to retire, he left Chester, and returned 
to his native place, where he died at the age of 
seventy-four. In 1821 his collection, according to 
the advertisement of the sale, consisting of * Several 
Hundred Exquisite Drawings in- Pencil and Sepia 
which Mr. Cuitt has devoted twelve years of pro- 
fessional labours in executing, and from which no 
selections have been made,' was disposed of by public 
auction, this event taking place at the time when he 
was leaving the city which had been for some years 
his home. There is a History of the City of Chester^ 
published in 1815 at Chester, by T. Poole, and illus- 
trated with five very beautiful etchings by Cuitt, 
which has sometimes been supposed to have been 
written by its illustrator. It was, however, the work 
of Dr. John Margaret Becker Pigot, once Senior 
Honorary Physician to the General Infirmary of. the 
city. 

Admiral Sie Peter Denis (or Dennis) was bom in 
Chester and baptized in the Cathedral on the 13th 
of April, 1712. He was educated at the King's 
School, of which his father was one of the masters, 
and adopting the navy as a profession was lieutenant 
under Anson in his voyage round the world in 1740. 
He was in command of the Centurion at the battle 
of Cape Finisterre, and fired the first broadside during 
256 



that engagement. Amongst other noteworthy in- 
cidents in his career he was one of the Court Martial 
which tried and condemned Admiral Byng. He led 
the attack at Belle Isle, and after the conflict was 
told by Sir Edward Hawke, in the presence of his 
brother officers, that ' he had behaved like an angel.' 
He was also the officer selected by King George to 
bring over to this country Queen Charlotte. He 
was made a baronet in 1767, commander-in-chief of 
the Mediterranean squadron in 1771, and died in 
1778. 

Henry Gee, the celebrated reforming mayor, some 
of whose edicts have already been mentioned, was 
not a man of national celebrity, but his is a name 
which must not be omitted when Chester worthies 
are being commemorated. If for nothing else, the 
fact that he was, so far as the present writer is aware, 
the first person to establish compulsory education, 
makes his name worthy of mention. He was a 
draper, and occupied the position of mayor in the 
years 153S and 1539. The late Mr. Thomas Hughes 
sums up the doings of his mayoralties in the short 
account of his life which appeared in the Cheshire 
Sheaf, *With a high hand and an unswerving 
purpose,** he says, ' he put the Corporation house in 
order. He set out in a Table the " GabuU rent" 
of the city, and the names of the tenants and the 
property chargeable therewith; he drew up and pub- 
lished a List of the Customs due at the Port of 
Chester, and he settled the Fees in other ways pay- 
able to the Civic Officials. He perambulated the 
Boundaries of the County of the City, which it would 
seem had not been done since the days of the Black 
Prince, he compiled, too, a Rental of the City's 
houses and lands, to stop the peculations that had 
u 257 



Some 
distin- 
guished 
Cestrians 
and Visi- 
tors to 
the City 



n 



The City long previously been going on therein, and he put 
of his stern foot on all corrupt appointments to offices 

Chester of trust in the municipality. He banished the " Idle 
Begars and Vacabounds ^ from their dens in the city, 
he regulated the Com Market, he established the 
first attempt at a school board, he kept up the 
quality of nsh in the market, and at the same time 
kept aown the price. He would not allow giddy 
unmarried girls to keep common ale-houses, he 
stopped immorality at Churchings and other feasts ; 
in short, there was not a crying abuse in Chester 
to which old Henry Gee did not apply a vigorous 
remedy/ He died in 1545, * living long enough,^ 
says Mr. Hughes, * to " see in ^ the Reformation, but 
without, it would seem, quite falling in with the new 
religion.' He was buried in Holy Trinity Church, 
and over his remains was placed a brass with the 
inscription, 'Here vnder lyeth buryed the body of 
Henry Gee, twoo tymes mayer of this Cetye of 
Chester, whyche d'cessyd the vj day of September, 
An'^o d'ni m'o v'c xlv'o, on whois soulle ih'u haue 
mercy.' 

Thomas Harrison, like Cuitt, was a native of 
Richmond in Yorkshire, where he was born in 1744. 
In his early professional days as an architect, he went 
to Rome, where his services were much appreciated 
by the Pope, who presented him with a gold and 
a silver medal. In Chester he built the gaol and 
county courts, together with other buildings, but his 
chief monument is the fine one-span bridge over the 
Dee, which must attract the attention of every visitor 
to Chester. 

Matthew Henry was the second son of the Rev. 
Philip Henry, M.A., who was ejected from the living 
of Worthenbury as a consequence of the Act of 
258 



Unifonnity. Matthew was bom Oct. 18, 1662, at a Some 
farm called Broad Oak, Isycoed, Flintshire, to which distin- 
place his father had removed from Worthenbury but guished 
a fortnight before. At first destined for the law, he Cestrians 
studied at Gray's Inn, but coming to Chester in and Visi- 
1686, one year after his entry upon legal studies, he tors to 
announced his intention of becoming a dissenting the City 
minister, and a year afterwards was appointed pastor 
in Chester. In 1712 he removed to Hackney. It 
was, however, in Chester that he commenced his 
Exposition of the Old and New Testament^ a work 
which he never finished, since he died when he had 
reached the end of the Acts of the Apostles. Much of 
this book is said to have been written in a summer- 
house still existing at the back of the house in which 
he lived in Bolland'^s Court. He died at Nantwich in 
1714, and is buried in Holy Trinity Church, Chester, 
where a brass thus commemorates him and his first 
wife. * Mortalis exuvias hie juxta deposuit Katherina 
Henry, filia unica Samuelis Hardware armigeri, Con- 
jux admodum dilecta Matthaei Henry S.S. Evangelii 
ministri, quae primo partu (filiola superstite) variolis 
extincta ad patriam migravit, 14^ die Februarii, 
1688-9, anno aetat. 25. Posuit in lachrymis viduatus 
conjux. Idem Mattheus Henry pietatis et ministerii 
ofliciis strenue perfunctus, per labores, S.S. literis 
scrutandis et explicandis impensos confectum corpus 
huic dormitorio commisit 22ndo die Junii, 1714, anno 
aetat. 52. susceptis ex Maria, Roberti Warburton, 
armigeri, filia, moerente jam vidua, unico filio et 
quinque filiabus superstitibus.' The chapel in which 
Matthew Henry once officiated is in Trinity Street, 
and is now a Unitarian place of worship. Its exterior 
has been much altered but it still contains a good 
seventeenth - century pulpit with sounding-board, 

259 




The City which were those in use when the great Presbyterian 

of divine was its pastor. 

Chester Ranulph Higden was a Benedictine monk of the 

abbey of St. Werburgh about the beginning of the 
fourteenth century, and there died about 1360. He 
is said to have been the author of the celebrated 
Mirdcle Plays^ but perhaps his fame more depends 
upon his Polychronicon. An earlier compilation 
from several of the old chronicles and books on 
natural history then in existence had been made by 
one Roger, a monk in the same monastery, about the 
beginning of the fourteenth century. Higden^s work 
was an amplification of this compilation and deals 
with the countries of the known world, especially 
Britain, and the history of the world from its creation 
down to Higden's own time. In 1387, Trevisa, who 
was chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, translated 
Higden''s Latin into the English of the period. This 
text was by Caxton, ' a lytel embelysshed fro tholde,' 
and by him also continued down to the year 1460. 
His continuation he entitles * liber ultimus ' : it was 
finished in 1482 and shortly afterwards published. 
There are twenty-six known copies of this book in 
existence, of which only two are perfect. An almost 
perfect copy fetched i£*477, 15s. in 1865, when prices 
did not rule nearly so high as they do now. Trevisa'*s 
translation contains a curious account of Chester, of 
which a few passages may here be quoted. *The 
citee of legiouns, that is, Chestre, stondeth in the 
merche of Engelond toward Wales, bytwene tweie 
armes of the see that hatte (are called) Dee and 
Merse. This citee in tymes of Britouns was heed 
and chief citee of al Venedocia, that is. North 
Wales. The foundour of this citee is vnknowe, for 
who that seeth the foundementis of the grete stones 
260 



^ 



wolde rather mene that it were Romayns work, other Some 
work of geauntes, than work i-made by settynge of distin- 
Bretouns. This citee somtyme in Brittische speche guished 
heet Caerleon, Legecestria in Latyn, and hatte now Cestrians 
Cestria in Latyn, and Chestren in Englishe, and the and Visi- 
Citee of Legiouns also. For there lay a wynter the tors to 
legiouns of knyghtes that lulius Cesar sente for to the City 
Wynne Irlond ; and afterwards Clawdius Cesar sente 
legiouns out of that citee for to winne the ilonds that 
hatte Orcades. What euere William Malmesbury by 
tellynge of other men mette of this citee, this citee 
hath plente of lyflode of corne, of flesche, and of 
fische, and specialliche of pris salmoun. That citee 
fongeth (takes in) grete merchaundise, and sendeth 
out also. Also nygh this cytee beeth salt welles, 
metal and oor. Northumbres destroyed this citee 
somtyme; but afterward Elfleda, laay of Mercia 
bulde it age** and made it wel more. In this citee 
beeth weies vnder erthe, with vawtes of stoon werk 
wonderliche i-wroggt, thre chambres worke greet 
stones i-graued with olde men names there ynne. . . . 
This is the citee that Ethelfride, Kyng of Northumber, 
destroyed; and slogh there faste by nygh two thousand 
monkes of the mynistre of Bangor. This is the citee 
that kyng Edgar com to som tyme with seuene 
kynges that were suget to hym.' 

The name of Handle Holme was borne by no less 
than four persons, of four generations, all heralds or 
heraldic painters and all men of some note, whose 
lives have been carefully detailed by the late Mr. 
Earwaker in the Journal of the Chester Archaeological 
and Historic Society. Randle i. was born about the 
year 1571 and died in 1655. He married the widow 
of Thomas Chaloner of Chester, who was himself a 
herald and had been Ulster King at Arms. Holme 

261 




The City inherited the papers of his wife^s first husband, and 
of may possibly have succeeded him as deputy in Chester 

Chester of the Heralds^ College, for to that position he was 
appointed by William Segar, Norroy, in 1600-01. 
He was sheriff in 1615, and in 1631 was selected to 
be knighted, a dignity offered solely for the purpose 
of obtaining a contribution for the royal exchequer. 
He refused this offer and paid ten pounds as com- 

t position for not complying with the royal request, 
n 1633 he was made mayor and during his term of 
office was shrewdly berated by the Earl Marshal, 
Thomas Arundel, Earl of Howard, to whom he h€ul 
neglected to pay sufficient attention when that noble- 
man visited Chester. A prominent Royalist, he was 
fined a sum of ^160 for the part which he had taken 
in the siege of Chester. He was buried in St. Mary's 
Church. Handle ir. was his second son, followed his 
father's business of a ^ painter,' and was his partner 
in his official duties in connection with the Heralds' 
College. In 1643, during the Civil War, he was 
elected mayor of the city. He lived but a short 
time after his father's death and, like him, was buried 
in St. Mary's Church, where there is a monument to 
his memory erected by his son and successor Randle 
III. This member of the family, who has sometimes 
been called the * great Randle,' was baptized in St. 
Mary's Church on the 30th December 1627. He 
took up his father's business and became a member 
of the same city company. In 1664 he was appointed 
* sewer of the chamber in extraordinary to his Majesty ' 
King Charles ii. The * sewer' in a household was 
the officer who placed dishes on the table at meals 
and removed them when done with. He may also 
have had to taste their contents in order to see that 
they had been properly cooked, and was expected to 
262 



bring water for the hands of the guests. In Handlers Some 
case the office was probably a sinecure, and carried distin- 
no salary, though there were some valuable privileges guished 
connected with it, which are detailed in the writ of Cestrians 
appointment. * His person is not to be arrested or and Visi- 
deteyned without leaue from me first had and tors to 
obtained, neither is he to beare any publick office the City 
whatsoeuer, nor to be impanelled on any enquest or 
j ury, nor to be warned to serve at assizes or sessions 
whereby he may pretend excuse to neglect his 
Maiesties service out is to attend the same according 
to his oath and duty.' From this writ it follows 
that he was incapable of holding office as sheriff or 
mayor as his two forefathers had done. Randle in. 
was involved in disputes with the Heralds' College, 
for it was asserted that he had usurped their privi- 
leges in marshalling funerals, preparing coats of arms 
and hatchments and receiving fees for the same. 
Accordingly William Dugdale, Norroy, brought an 
action agamst him in the Court of Common Pleas 
and recovered £20 and costs. Moreover the Diary 
of Dugdale's Visitation records several instances in 
which he had pulled down Atchievements which had 
been set up by Randle. In the end he seems to have 
come to terms with the College and to have acted as 
their representative at Chester, for Cheshire, Lanca- 
shire, and the six counties of North Wales. In 1688 
he published his great work entitled ' The Academy 
of Armoury, or, A Storehouse of Armory and Blazon 
Containing The several variety of Created Beings, 
and how bom in Coats of Arms both Foreign and 
Domestick. Wi th The Instruments used in all Trades 
and Sciences, together with their Terms of Art. Also 
the Etymologies, Definitions and Historical Observa- 
tions on the same. Explicated and Explained according 

263 




The City to our Modern Language. Very useful for all Gentle- 
of men, Scholars, Divines, and all such as desire any 

Chester knowledge in Arts and Sciences. Every Man shall 
Camp by his Standard, and under the Ensign of his 
Father^s House. Numb. 2. 2. Put on the whole 
Armour of God, that you may be able to stand 
against the Assaults of the Devil; above all take 
the Shield of Faith. Ephes. 6. 11. 16. By Handle 
Holme, of the City of Chester Gentleman Sewer in 
Extraordinary to his late Majesty King Charles 2. 
And sometimes Deputy for the Kings of Arms. 
Chester, Printed for the Author, mdclxxxviii.' This 
is a folio volume of over eleven hundred pages, and 
containing fifty full-sized plates. Large as it is, the 
work was never completed, for at the end of the first 
part of the third book, the author states that though 
the remainder is ready for the press, it wants 
* Encouragers for the Work.^ He proceeds to inform 
his public that he is not * at present able or sufficient 
to carry on so great a Work without Assistance, for 
the Times are so Hard, Trading so Dead, Money 
scarce, Paper wanting (else at Double, if not Treble 
Rates to that I first begun) Wages great, and daily 
Layings out so much, and above all Gentlemen''s 
Coldness of Zeal in promoting the same, that amongst 
the many Thousands of Noble Families and Rich 
Estates in our parts of the Kingdom, viz. Cheshire, 
Lancashire and the six Counties of North Wales, not 
above Twenty have advanced Money to the Work.** 
The collections for the book, which he commenced 
to make in 1649, when he was twenty -two years of 
age, and continued to gather for forty years, fill ten 
small folio volumes amongst the Harleian mss. in the 
British Museum. It should be mentioned that this 
book is by no means purely what it purports to be, 
264 




a manual of Heraldry, but is, as Ormerod puts it, ^ the Some 
strangest jumble on Natural History, Mineralogy distin- 
and Surgery, occasionally diversified by Palmistry, guished 
Hunter's terms, the Cockpit laws. Diseases, an Essay Cestrians 
on Time and on Men punished in Hell. Introducing and ViHi- 
each subject successively as the fancied bearing of tors to 
an armorial coat."* This Handle was one of the the City 
earliest Free-Masons known to have existed in Chester, 
and in his Academy of Armory he speaks of this 
body thus : — * I cannot but Honor the Felloship of 
the Masons because of its Antiquity ; and the more 
as being a Member of that Society, called Frec- 
Masons. In being conversant amongst them I have 
observed the use of these several Tools following, 
some whereof I have seen born in Coats Armour.** 
He lived in a house in Bridge Street, which seems 
to have been the building known as Lamb llow. A 
picture of this, from the needle of Cuitt, is to be 
seen in Pigot's History of Chenter to which attention 
has already been catled. It fell down in 1821. 
Handle in. was thrice married and died on the 12th 
of March, 1699-1700. He was buried, like his father 
and grandfather, in St. Mary'^s Church. Handle iv. 
was the eldest son of Handle iii. by his first wife. 
Like his father he was a member of the Stationers^ 
Company, and like him too was Deputy to Norroy 
King at Arms. He died in 1707, and was buried in 
the same church as his progenitors. The four Randies 
collected an immense number of manuscript notes 
about Chester matters, which passed from Robert 
Harley, Earl of Oxford, to the British Museum, 
where they form a part of that collection known 
as the Harleian mss. The total number of volumes 
in the Holme series is about two hundred and 
seventy, and each volume on an average contains 

265 




The City about two hundred and fifty closdy written folio 

of pftges. 

Chester It would be a piece of ingratitude on the part of 

the present writer if no mention were made of the 
name of Thomas Hughes, for a number of years the 
editor of the Cheshire Sheafs from which so many 
quotations have been made in the pages of this book. 
Mr. Hughes was born in Chester in 1826, educated 
at the King^s School, and apprenticed to a bookseller. 
He was a most industrious archaeologist, and was 
elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He 
was one of the Founders of the Chester Archaso* 
logical Society and the author of several books 
dealing with the history and antiquities of his native 
city. But perhaps the most remarkable fruit of his 
labours is the Cheshire Sheafs a kind of local Notes 
and Queries which appeared for many years in the 
columns of the Chester Courant. This collection of 
notes is a mine of information on topics connected 
with Chester and the neighbouring parts of England 
and Wales, and owes many of its most interesting 
contributions to the pen of its editor. 

George Jeffreys, the notorious president of the 
Bloody Assizes, was Lord Chief-Justice of Chester 
as well as being Chief-Justice of the King's Bench 
and Lord Chancellor of England. His connection 
with the city must not be left unnoticed, but no 
further mention of his history seems here to be 
needful. 

Daniel King, the publisher of the VaJe RoyaZ^ 
of which mention has several times been made, 
was bom in Chester in 1630 and apprenticed to 
the Randle Holme of the period. He died in 
1661, having removed to London before his book 
appeared. 

266 



^ 



Charles Kingsley, the author, was for a time a Some 
canon of Chester, and his name will remain connected distin- 
with the city as the founder of the Natural History guished 
Society, whose collections form such an attractive Cestrians 
part of the Grosvenor Museum. and Visi- 

George Ormerod was not a native of the city, tors to 
having been born at Manchester in 1785, but he was the City 
educated at the King'*s School, Chester. He was a 
Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of 
Antiquaries, a Semitic scholar, and is best known as 
the autlior of the History of the County Palatine and 
City of Chester^ a work in three large folio volumes 
of which a revised edition was brought out not many 
years ago by Dr. Helsby. 

A much earlier antiquary was Archdeacon Robert 
Rogers, who died in 1559. Amongst the Harleian 
MSB. are several volumes by him, including *A 
Breauarye of some few Collections of the Citie of 
Chester, gathered out of some fewe Writers (by 
Mr. Robert Rogers); and here sett downe by Mr. 
David Rogers, his son: a.d. 1609. This Treatise is 
continued by the said David and others to the year 
1652.' 

Sir John Vanbrugh, Clarencieux King of Arms, 
the architect of Blenheim, and the author of The 
Relapse and The Provoked Wife, was bom in or near 
Chester, and was educated at the King's School in 
that city. 

William Webb should be mentioned as one of the 
authors of the Vale Royal, which appeared in 1656. 
He was an Oxford graduate, and had as a colleague 
in the book William Smith, Rouge Dragon Pur- 
suivant at Arms. 

Owing to its situation on the road to Ireland, 
whether as a seaport or as an important place on the 

267 



r 



The City coach or rail-road to Holyhead, Chester has had 
of many noteworthy visitors. Of some of these whose 

Chester connection with the city presents points of interest, 
mention will now be made, and, as before, in alpha- 
betical order. 

Henry Cromwell, the son of the Protector, was in 
Chester in 1653, on his way to Ireland, where he had 
been appointed Lord Lieutenant. Thence he made 
his way to Holyhead, from which he wrote, 6th of 
July, ^ I am heer waiting uppon the Ix>rde for a 
winde, and have bin soe since Monday. The weather 
hathe bin very bade that we durst not venter to sea.** 
By this time it will be noticed the point of departure 
was Holyhead and not Chester or Parkgate, but^ 
from whichever place travellers elected to start, their 
letters show how much delay was occasioned, "as in 
this case, by contrary winds, in the days before steam 
alleviated the miseries of those that go down to the 
sea in ships. 

Grimaldi, the celebrated clown, was in Chester and 
put up at the White Lion Hotel. Of his experiences 
there a very amusing account, too long to be quoted 
here, is given by Dickens in his Life of Grimaldi the 
Clown. 

Samuel Johnson was in Chester in 1774 with Mr., 
Mrs., and Miss Thrale. *I have come to Chester,^ he 
said, ' Madam, I cannot tell how, and far less can I 
tell how to get away from it,' and describes some of 
his experiences in the city. 'We walked,** he says, 
' round the walls, which are complete, and contain 
one mile three quarters and one hundred and one 
yards ; within there are many gardens. They are 
very high, and two may walk commodiously siae by 
side. On the inside is a rail ; there are towers from 
space to space, not very frequent, and I think not all 
268 




complete/ Mrs. Thrale supplements this note in a Some 

letter to Mr. Duppa in which she says, * Of those ill- distin- 

fated walls Dr. Johnson might have learned the guished 

extent from any one. He has since fairly put me out Cestrians 

and Visi- 

I 1 tors to 

I I the City 




of countenance by saying, " I have known my mistress 
fifteen years, and never saw her fairly out of humour 
but on Chester Walls." It was because lie would 
keep Miss Thrale beyond her hour of going to bed, 
269 



The City 
Chester 



on the Walls, where for the want of light I appre- 
hended some accident to her — perhaps to him ! ^ In 
his Diary of a Journey into North Wales in the year 
1774!* the doctor mentions that he *saw the cathedral 
which is not of the first rank, the castle (in one of 
the rooms the assizes are held), and the refectory of 
the old Abbey, of which part is a Grammar School. 
The master seemed glad to see me. The cloister is 
very solemn ; over it are chambers in which the singing 
men live.** He mentions that he saw ^ a subterranean 
arch, very strongly built,^ which was perhaps one of 
the crypts, and gives a long account of the Hypo- 
caust with which he seems to have been much 
taken. 

Thomas Parnell, the poet, author of The Hermit^ 
and other works much admired in their day, was 
archdeacon of Clogher and vicar of Finglas. On his 
way through Chester to Ireland, in 1717, he died, 
and was buried in Holy Trinity Church without any 
monumental record. 

D£AN Swift, as already mentioned, passed through 
Chester, probably more than once, on his way between 
England and Ireland. He does not seem to have 
formed a very high opinion of the inhabitants of the 
city, or indeed of any of the objects it contains, save 
perhaps the walls, to judge from the three epigrams 
written on windows at Chester, which are included 
amongst his miscellaneous pieces. As these doggrels 
are not of any great length they may be quoted 
here. 



(i) The church and clergy here, no douht. 
Are very near akin ; 
Both weather-beaten are without. 
And empty both within. 



270 




This seems to be a variant of the distich, already 
quoted, which popular tradition assigns to the Dean, 
and is perhaps the more correct version. 



(ii) My landlord is civile 
But dear as the d — 1 : 
Your pockets grow empty 
With nothing to tempt ye : 
The wine is so sour^ 
'Twill give you the scour : 
The beer and the ale 
Are mingled with stale ; 
The veal is such carrion^ 
A dog would be weary on. 
All this I have felt^ 
For I live on a smelt. 



Some 
distin- 
guished 
Cestrians 
and Visi- 
tors to 
the City 



(iii) The Walls of this town 

Are full of renown^ 
And strangers delight to walk round 'em ; 

But as for the dwellers^ 

Both buyers and sellers, 
For me, you may hang 'em or drown 'em. 



John Wesley, a very different type of ecclesiastic 
from Swift, visited Chester on several occasions, hold- 
ing his meetings apparently in a small house in Love 
Laiie, where Wesleyan Methodism had its head- 
quarters from 1750, the date of its foundation in 
Chester, imtil 1765, when a move was made to the 
Octagon Chapel. On one of his visits he says : * We 
walked round the Walls of the City, which are some- 
thing more than a mile and three-quarters in circum- 
ference. But there are many vacant spaces within 
the Walls — many gardens, and a good deal of pasture 
ground: so that I believe Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 

271 



r 



The City within the walls, contains at least a third more 
of houses than Chester. The greatest convenience here 

Chester is, what they call "The Rows^ — that is, covered 
galleries which run through the main streets on each 
side, from east to west and from north to south ; by 
which means one may walk both clean and dry in 
any weather, from one end of the city to the 
other.' 

At first the people received him in a friendly way 
and he was satisfied with their treatment. *Sat. 
(June) 20 (1752). — I rode to Chester, and preached 
at the accustomed place, a little without the Gates 
near St. John's Church. One single man, a poor ale- 
house keeper, seemed disgusted, spoke a harmless 
word, and ran away with all speed. All the rest 
behaved with the utmost seriousness, while I declared 
" The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.""' At a later 
date things took a different turn, and damage was 
done to property without any interference on the 
part of the authorities of the city. * Friday, 3 (July). 
— I reached Chester. I was saying in the morning to 
Mr. Parker, " Considering the good which has been 
done already, I wonder the people of Chester are so 
quiet." He answered, "You must not expect they 
will be so always.*" Accordingly, one of the first 
things I heard, after I came into the town, was that 
for two nights before the mob had been employed in 
pulling down the house where I had preached. I 
asked, " Were there no Magistrates in the City ? ^ 
Several answered me, " We went to the Mayor after 
the first riot, and desired a warrant to bring the 
rioters before him. But he positively refused to 
grant any, or to take any informations about it. So, 
being undisturbed, they assembled again the next 
night, and finished their work."^' On the following 
272 




Sunday the Journal continues : ^ I stood, at seven in Some 
the morning, near the ruins of the house, and ex- distin- 
plained the "principles and practice of that sect guished 
which is everywhere spoken against/"* I went after- Cestrians 
wards to St. Martin'*s Church, which stands close to and Visi- 
the place. The gentleman who officiated seemed to tors to 
be extremely moved at several passages in the Second the City 
Lesson — Luke xvii. particularly, — "It is impossible 
but that offences should come, etc.'** He began his 
sermon nearly in these words — " The last LorcTs Day, 
I preached on doing as you would be done to, in 
hopes of preventing such proceedings as are contrary 
to all justice, mercy, and humanity. As I could not 
do that, I have chosen these words for your present 
consideration, " Ye know not what manner of spirit 
ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to 
destroy men''s lives, but to save them.*" He con- 
cludea nearly thus: "I am sorry any such out- 
rages should be committed, particularly in this 
parish where I have been teaching so many years. 
And to how little purpose! I will remove as 
soon as I possibly can from a place where I can 
do so little good. O what an account have they 
to make who have either occasioned or encouraged 
these proceedings! May God grant that they may 
repent in time ! That they may know what spirit 
they are of! That they may, before it is too 
late, acknowledge and love the Truth as it is in 
Jesus." ' 

Wesley was in Chester again in 1786, in 1789, and 
in 1790. By this time, the occasion of his last visit, 
the congregation had moved to the Octagon Chapel. 
This visit is thus alluded to in the Diary : * Mon. 
(April) 5 (1790). — In the evening I met once more 
with our old affectionate friends at Chester. I have 
s 273 



TlieCity never seen this chapel more crowded than that 
of night; but still it could not near contain the 

Chester congregation.' 



'' N 




APPENDIX 



ITINERARY 

As stated in the preface this book is intended to be a 
short history of Chester, with descriptions of the various 
objects of historical interest in the city which illustrate 
that history. Hence the various things and places 
which visitors would naturally desire to see have not 
been given in the order in which they may be most 
easily and conveniently seen. It has consequently been 
thought that it might be well to give a route, or rather 
a series of routes, through the city, indicating the object 
of interest met with and the page of the book on which 
they will be found to be described. If we start from 
the station, which is at some little distance from the 
centre, and even from the walls of the city, we first 
make our way up a street called City Road, from which, 
at a point called the Bars, where a bar or gate at one 
time actually stood, we find our way into Foregate 
Street. * Follow the trams ' is a safe rule, for they will 
take the visitor from the station to the centre of the 
city and past it. In Foregate Street some old houses 
with projecting upper stories, carried on supports, will 
be seen, perhaps the best being one on the left-hand 
side, now used as a restaurant, and bearing the date 
1577. Here also may be noted modern or comparatively 
modem houses built on the same plan. The city is 
entered by the East Gate, and the visitor will now have a 

276 




The City choice of ways to follow. Before describing the walk 
of round the wells, the principal objects in the main and 

Chester 




J\ a Iffl'U 




side streets within them may be enumerated. In East- 
gate Street, The Rows (p. 234). At the end of £«stgmte 
Street, the Cross is reached. St. Peter's Church (p. 198) 
is on the right. Here were originally the Pentice 
(p. 214) and the High Cross (p. 63). Going straight 
276 



on down Watergate Street, the objects to be noticed Itinerary 
are : The Rows on both sides. On the left (i) Messrs. 
Quellyn, Roberts's crypt (p. 232) ; (ii) God's Providence 
House (p. 243); (iii) Bishop Lloyd's Palace (p. 243); 
(iv) The ^ Yacht' (p. 246), and (v) The 'Old Custom- 
House ' (p. 246). Then after passing the ends of Weaver 
Street and Nicholas Street, a narrow entry still on the 
left side will be reached, which leads into the court 
where is (vi) the Stanley Palace (p. 244). There is a 
notice-board to call the attention of visitors to this 
entry. At the end of the street is the Water Gate 
(p. 86). Returning to the Cross and turning up to 
Northgate Street, on the right Rows, on the left a 
colonnade under the last house of which, Vernon's toy- 
shop, are Roman remains (p. 22). Further on to the 
right the entrance to the Cathedral (p. 155), with the 
King's School (p. 155), and beyond this the Abbey Gate 
(p. 134) leading to the Precincts and Abbey Street 
(p. 173). Opposite to the entrance to the Cathedral 
are the Market and the Town Hall. At the end of the 
street is the North Gate (p. 173). Returning again to 
the Cross and turning down Bridge Street, the visitor 
will find a number of fine houses to interest him. On 
both sides are Rows. Then on the right is an old crypt 
under Messrs. Newman's place of business (p. 233), and 
Roman remains in the smoking-room of * The Grotto ' 
(p. 22). Opposite to these is the Roman Bath (p. 21). 
At the end of the street and also on the left-hand side 
is St. Michael's Church (p. 198). The direct continua- 
tion of the street is Lower Bridge Street, also contain- 
ing many interesting houses. On the right is the 
' Falcon,' an excellent example (p. 246). Lower down 
on the opposite side is a fine house with modern lower 
floor, bearing the deceptive date of 1003. This, of 
course, should be l603, but the tail of the 6 has been 
omitted. Lower down on the right-hand side is Gamull 
Terrace, which contains all that remains of Gamull 
House (p. 244). Beyond this on the same side is the 

277 




The City 

of 

Chester 



'Old King Edgar/ an interesting house^ and still 
further down and on the same side the 'Bear and 
Billet ' (p. 245). At the bottom of the street is Bridge 
Gate (p. 87). Here the visitor may leave the enclosure 
of the walls and cross the Old Bridge (p. 88)^ noticing 
on his right the Mill (p. 91)^ and on his left the Cause- 
way or W^ir (p. 9S), A short distance beyond the 
bridge on the opposite side of the Dee is Edgar's Field 
(p. 24), in which are the grotto (p. 24), and the figure 
of Minerva (p. 28). The eminence in this public park 
on which the bandstand is placed should be climbed 
for the sake of the view afforded, which embraces the 
river and bridge, the Castle, St. Mary's and St. John's 
Churches, and is quite one of the best points from which 
to view the city on this side. Only the turrets of the 
Cathedral tower will be seen above the roofs of the 
houses which intervene between it and the observer. 

Returning to the end of Bridge Street, the visitor 
should walk a short distance down White Friars and 
notice a good bracketed black and white house of two 
gables, with the date 1658. Returning from White 
Friars, walk down Grosvenor Street, a new thoroughfare, 
in which on the right is the Grosvenor Museum. This 
the visitor will not fail to enter for the sake of seeing 
the Roman remains (p. 12) and the natural history 
objects mounted and displayed in the most admirable 
manner by the Curator, Mr. Newstead. Nearly opposite 
to this is the modern Franciscan Church (p. 182), and 
beyond this the graveyard of what was St. Bridget's 
Church (p. 200), containing a memorial obelisk, with 
portrait medallion, to Matthew Henry (p. 258). This is 
the site of Gloverstone (p. 11 6). Beyond this on the 
right are the Militia Barracks, and on the left the 
Castle (p. 101). Here is an equestrian statue of Lord 
Combermere. Beyond this the river is crossed by the 
Grosvenor Bridge (p. 86), a fine single-span arch, from 
which there is a good view of the Roodeye and the 
places near it. 
278 




The walk round the walls may best be started from Itinerary 
the East Gate^ and has already been described (p. 77). 
The following recapitulation may, however, be useful. 
Walking towards the north, that is, away from the side 
on which is situated the Grosvenor Hotel, the Cathedral 
and its graveyard are to be seen (p. 154). Then the 
Kale Yard Gate (p. 78) is crossed, with the Kale Yards 
(p. 78), or rather their site, on the right. Beyond this 
on the left is the Deanery Field, in which Roman 
tombs have been found, and near the angle of the 
wall is the Phoenix Tower (p. 79). Beyond this is the 
North Wall, in which so many Roman remains have 
been found. Looking over the parapet in various places 
the visitor will be able to sec the footings of the ancient 
wall, quite a heap of stones being visible at one point 
(p. 79). Here also the deep cutting of the Roman Fosse, 
in which the canal runs, will be seen (p. 81), and just 
beyond the North Gate (p. 80) on the right are the 
Blue Coat School, the Bridge of Tears (p. 81), and the 
larger bridge over the canal. Beyond this are Morgan's 
Mount (p. 83), Pemberton's Parlour (p. 83), and on 
the left, the Barrow Field, in which interments were 
made at the time of the plague (p. 84). At this angle 
of the wall is Bonewaldesthome's Tower (p. 84), be- 
yond which is a curtain wall and the Water Tower 
(p. 84). This part of the wall has been much inter- 
fered with by a recent extension of the railway. Under 
the Water Tower is a small Public Park, in which are the 
supports of a Roman hypocaust. These are not in situ, 
but were removed here from their original position 
within the walls. Turning along the West Wall, the 
City Infirmary is passed on the left, and then Stanley 
Place (p. 180). Still further on, the wall skirts the 
Roodeye (p. 84), where will be seen the Grand Stand of 
the Racecourse, the Roman Quay (p. 75), part of which 
is enclosed with railings, and the stump of the old cross 
(p. 86). It was under the furthest gasometer that the 
pig of lead mentioned on p. 74 was found. On the 

279 



i 



The City left is the site of the Nunnery (p. 179). Crossing 
of Grosvenor Road the way leads past the Castle (p. 101\ 

Chester *"^ ^Y *^® river. Mill (p. 91)> and old Bridge (p. 88). 
Past the Recorder 8 Steps (p. 95), the Wishing Steps 
(p. 96) are reached, and beyond these. Pepper Gate, at 
the end of Pepper Street (p. 96), is crossed. Between 
the steps and the last-named gate the Bishop's Palace 
and St. John's Church will be seen on the right. Be- 
yond Pepper Gate on the right are the Cockpit (p. 230), 
and Thimbleby's Tower (p. 97), and a few yards further 
the circuit of the walls is completed. For the next 
route turn down St. John's Street, just outside the East 
Gate. On the left are the Post Office and Dickson's 
Seed Warehouse, in which is a portion of the Roman 
Wall (p. 21). At the end of the street turn to the left 
down Little St. John's Street to St. John's Church 
(p. 184). Leaving this turn down by the ruins, observing 
them and noting the coffin in the wall (p. 190), to the 
Groves, a pleasure-ground near the river. Here is the 
arch of the old Ship Gate (p. 87). The river is here 
crossed by a suspension bridge, which leads to the 
Queen's Park on the opposite side of the river. From 
this there is a good view of St. John's Church and the 
Hermitage rock, with the modern building which stands 
upon it (p. 191)- Returning to the Chester side, enter 
the Grosvenor Park, in which are the entrance doors of 
Old St. Michael's Church and of the Nunnery (p. 179). 
Near the lodge of the park is St. Werburgh's Catholic 
Church, and the road past it leads to Foregate Street, 
near the Bars. 



280 



INDEX 



Abbey becomes * mitred,' 129; 
and free from bishop's visitation, 

130- 
Abbey Gate, 134. 

Abbey of St. Werburgh, 121. 

Abbots : — 

Geoffrey, 125. 

Hugh Grylle, 126. 

John Birchensbaw, 131. 

Richard. 123. 

Richard de Seynesbury, 130. 

Simon de Albo Monasterio, 
127. 

Simon Ripley, 130, 157. 

Thomas Clarke, 131. 

William de Bebyngton, 129. 
Abbot's Court, the, 123, 133. 
Aethelflaed maJces a buhr at Chester, 

30. 102. 
Ale-houses, regulation of, 209. 
Altars, Roman, 16. 
•Ancient Britons, the,' 68. 
Anchorites' cells near St. John's 

Church, 191. 
Anselm, St., nominates first abbot 

of St. Werburgh 's, 123. 
Antefix, Roman, 19. 
Archery-butts, 229. 
Archery, compulsory, 211. 
Arthur, Prince, at Chester, gives 
medal to Smiths' Company, 45. 

Badger-baiting, 230. 
Balls, 231. 

Bangor Iscoed, monastery of, 28. 
Barrow Field, 84. 



Bateson, Thomas, composer, 149. 
Bath, Roman, in Bridge Street, 21. 
Battles :— 

Blore Heath, 43. 

Bosworth Field, 45. 

Chester (607), 28. 

Deorham, 28. 

Rowton Moor, 60. 

Shrewsbury, 41. 
' Bear and Billet,' 246. 
Bebyngton, William de, abbot, 

129. 
Beeston Castle, 59. 
Bishops : — 

Bird, John, 144. 

Blomheld, 148. 

Bridgeman, 144. 

Cotys, 144. 

JacoBson, 149, 163. 

Pearson, 148, 158. 

Peploe, 148, 155. 

Peter, 140, 189. 

Scott, 144. 

Stubbs, 149. 

Sumner, 149. 

Wilkins, J., 146. 
• Blue Posts Inn,' 51, 247. 
Bonewaldesthome s Tower, 84. 
Bradshaw, Henry, 253. 
Bradshaw, John, the regicide, 63, 

254- 
Brereton, Sir William, recruits for 

Parliamentarians, 57 ; attacks 

city, 58 ; besieges city, 60. 

Bridges : — 

•Bridge of Death, '81. 

281 



The City 
Chester 



Grosvenor, 86. 

Near North Gate, 8i. 

Old. 88. 

Suspension, 280. 
Bridge, or South Gate, 87. 
Bull-baiting, 231. 

Caerleon-on-Usk, 7. 
Caesar's Tower, 105, 106. 
Caldecott, Randolph, 255. 
Canal, 81. 
Cards sent to Ireland instead of 

commission, 50. 
Castle, loi. 
Castra Legionum, 5. 
Cathedral, 153. 
Catholics, measures against, 51, 

52, 54- 
Chapel in castle, 109. 

Chapter-house of cathedral, 172. 
Chequer-board in cathedral, 157. 
Christmas ceremonies and fes- 
tivities, 225. 
Churches : — 

St. Bridget's, 200. 

St. Chad's, 199. 

Holy Trinity, 198. 

St. John Baptist, 184. 

St. Martin's, 198. 

St. Mary's on the Hill, 195. 

St. Michael's, 198. 

St. Nicholas's, 158. 

St. Olave's, 199. 

St. Oswald's, 158. 

St. Peter's, 198. 

St. Thomas k Becket, 199. 
Cobham, Eleanor, 91. 
Cock-pit and cock-fighting, 230. 
Coins struck at Chester, 33. 
Cole, Dean, abortive visit to 

Ireland, 50. 
Colonnaded houses, 233. 
Companies, trading, 215. 
Consistory Court, 155. 
Conventual buildings of St. Wer- 
burgh's Abbey as they formerly 
existed, 134 ; as they now are, 
171. 
Cromwell, Henry, 268. 
Crosses pulled down, 51, 62. 
Crypts, ancient, 231. 

282 



Cuitt, George, 256. 

Curtein, sword, carried by Earl of 

Chester, 35. 
Cyveilioc, Hugh, 37. 

Denis, Admiral Sir Peter, 256. 
Deorham, battle of, 28. 
De Quincey, T., at Chester, 192. 
Derby, Earl of, trial and execution, 

64. 
Deva, 5 ; cosmopolitan population, 

18. 
Devereux, Walter, Earl of Essex, 

expedition to Ireland, 53. 
Dublin, connection of Chester with, 

112. 

Earldom of Chester, its holders, 
34 ; becomes an appanage of 
Prince of Wales, 39. 

East Gate, 77. 

Edgar's Field and Cave, 24, 87. 

* Edgar's Tavern,' 247. 

Edgar the Peaceable at Chester, 

31- 
Education, compulsory, m six- 
teenth century, 211. 

Fair on St. John Baptist's Day, 
struggle with citizens, 128. 

' Falcon, the,' 247. 

Featherstonehaugh, Sir T., trial 
and execution, 64. 

Fenian attempt on castle, 68. 

'Fifteen, the,' 67. 

Filth of houses and streets, 212. 

Fireplace in choir aisle of cathe- 
dral, 160. 

Fire, provisions against, 210. 

Fonts in cathedral, 156. 

Food, provisions respecting sale 
of, 208, 209. 

Forestalling, 207. 

• Forty-Five, the,' 67. 
Friaries : — 

Carmelite, 181. 
Dominican, 181. 
Franciscan, ancient, 180 ; 
modern, 182. 

Gamull House, 245. 



Gamull, Sir F., 60, 62, 196. 
Gardens of Castle, iii. 
Gates : — 

East, 77. 

Kale- Yard, 78. 

North, 80. 

Pepper or New, 96. 

Ship, 87. 

South or Bridge, 87. 

Water, 86. 
Gee, Henry, 209, 257. 
Gerbod, Earl of Chester, 34. 
Gild-Merchant, the, 203. 
' Glove, the,' 215. 
Gloverstone, 116. 
' God's Providence House,' 244. 
Grimaldi, 268. 

Handbridge or Treboeth, 42, 

87. 
Harold, King, said to have been 

hermit at Chester, 31, 191. 
Harrison, Thomas, 258. 
Hawarden Castle during siege of 

Chester, 58. 
Henry iv.. Emperor of Germany, 

so-called tomb, 166. 
Henry, Matthew, 66, 258, 278. 
Higden, Ranulph, 260; tomb, 

166. 
High Cross, 62. 
Holmes, Randle, the four, 261 ; 

memorial to^ 195. 
Horse-pool, the abbey, 136. 
Hospitals : — 

St. Giles, Bough ton, 183. 
St. John Baptist, 182. 
How den, Dean, 163. 
Hughes, Thomas, 266. 
Hugo Lupus, 34. 
Hypocausts, 21. 

Independence of Earls of Chester, 
35 ; privileges of County Palatine 
withdrawn, 45. 

'Ingagement' to serve the Com- 
monwealth, 63. 

Ireland, despatch of soldiers to, 

53- 
Iron-work m canon's vestry, cathe- 
dral, 161. 



Jeffreys, George, 266. 
John, Eail of Chester, 39. 
Johnson, Samuel, 268. 
Jousting-croft, 229. 

Kale-Yard Gate, 78. 
King, Daniel, 266. 
Kingsley, Charles, 267. 

Lady Chapel in cathedral, 164. 
Lawes, William, composer, 150. 
Lead, pig found in Roodeye, 7, 

74. 
Lean Var, 4. 

Legions at Deva, 8. 

Leofric of Mercia endows abbey, 
122. 

' Lifting,' 227. 

Lighting of city in sixteenth cen- 
I tury, 213. 
I Lloyd's, Bishop, palace, 244. 

Lokkes, Adam, robs stones from 
wall, 43. 

• Lycidas ' King, 248, 250. 

Marsh, George, burnt at Chester, 
49 ; tried in Lady Chapel, 165. 

Mayor of Chester, 204. 

Maypoles, 228. 

Military character of Deva, 5. 

Mill, 91. 

Minerva, figure of, in Edgar's Field, 
24, 87. 

Mint at Chester, 33. 

Misereres in cathedral. 169. 

Monmouth, James, Duke of, at 
Chester, 64. 

Morgan's Mount, 83. 

Murengers, 76, 83. 

Museum, Grosvenor, 278. 

Mystery-Plays, 219. 

! Neomagus, 3. 

New Gate or Pepper Gate, 96. 
I North Gate, 80. 

bridges, 81. 

; Nunnery, Ben^ictine, of St. Mary, 
86, 179. 

' Old Custom House,' 247. 
•Old King's Head,' 247. 

283 



Index 



r 



The City 
Chester 



Ormerod, George, 267. 
Oswald, St., church, 158. 

Parnell, Thomas, 970. 
Pemberton's Parlour, 83. 
Pentice, the, 214. 
Pepper Gate or New Gate, 96. 
PhceniiC Tower, 60, 79. 
Pilkington, Francis, composer, 

149. 
Pillars, Roman, in stiu, 22. 
Pillories, 206. 
Plague, the, 63, 212. 
Portico of castle, erection of, 

"3- 
Port of Chester, 52, 248. 

Prisoners in castle, 112. 

Protestation against the Covenant, 

the, 59. 
Prynne passes through city, 56. 
Puppet-show explosion and entry, 

181. 

Quarry, Roman, 21, 75. 

Races, 228. 

Ranulph Blundeville, 38, 182, 183, 
203. 

Gernons, 37, 179. 

des Meschines, 36, 123. 

* Recorder's Steps, the,' 95. 

Refectory of abbey, 174. 

Regrating, 207. 

Reinallt ap Gryfiyd ap Bleyddn, 44, 

Richard, Earl of Chester, 36. 

Ripley, Simon, abbot, 130. 

Rogers, Archdeacon Robert, 267. 

Roodeye, 84. 

Royal visits to Chester : — 

Charles i., 57. 

Edward i., 40. 

James i., 55. 

James 11., 65. 

Richard II., 40. 

William i. , 33. 

William ill., 66. 
Rows, the, 234. 
Rupert, Prince, at Chester, 59. 

Sadler's Tower, 79. 

St. John Baptist, church of, 184; 

284 



ruins of east end, 190 ; oak coffin 
in wall, 191. 
St. Mary's on the Hill, church of, 

195- 
Salmon m Dee, 93. 

Saxon crosses, 33, 184. 

See of Chester, ancient, 139; 

modem, 140; Henry viii.'s 

scheme for, 141. 
Sepulchral Banquet Tombstone, 

15. 
Sheriffs, 206. 

Ship Gate, 87. 

Shire Hall, old, 109 ; new, 114. 

Shows on Midsummer Day, 218. 

Siege of Chester, 57 ; Randle 

Holme on, 62. 
Simon de Albo Monasterio, abbot, 

127. 
Simon de Montfort, 39, 127. 
Stanley Palace, 245. 
Swift, Dean, 247, 270. 
Sword, Curtein, 35 ; of Chester, 

36. 

Thomas of Canterbury, St., mar- 
tyrdom on boss in Lady Chapel 
of cathedral, 164. 
Tombstones, Roman : — 

In north wall, 11. 

In museum, 12. 

Sepulchral Banquet, 15. 
Towers : — 

Bonewaldesthorne's, 84. 

Caesar's, 105. 

Morgan's Mount, 83. 

Pemberton's Parlour, 83. 

Phoenix, 60, 79. 

Sadler's, 79. 

Thimbleby's, 97. 

Tyrer's, 88. 

Water, 84. 
Trade, restrictions on, 210, 216. 
Troutbeck Chapel in St. Mary's 

Church, 196. 
Twenty-four, the, 204. 
Tyrer's Water Tower, 88. 

Valeria Victrix : Legio, 8. 
Vanbrugh, Sir John, 267. 
Volunteers, charter, 67, 68. 



11 



Walls :— 

Description of, 71. 

East, in Dickson's seed-shop, 

21. 
North, Roman remains in, 

10. 
Repairing of, 76. 
Walk round, 77. 
Watch, setting the Christmas, 

226. 
Water Gate, 86. 
Water Tower, 84. 
Webb, William, 267. 
Weir, the, 93. 



Wenlock, proposed union of Index 
Chester with, 140. 

Welsh excluded from Chester, 42 ; 
contests with, 44. 

Werburgh, St., 29 ; churches dedi- 
cated to her, 30 ; abbey of, I2Z ; 
shrine, 164 ; legend of, 169. 

Wesley, John, 271. 

' Wishing Steps, the,' 96. 

Woodwork in cathedral, 167. 

Wulfhere, King of Mercia, 29. 

Yacht-field, 180. 
' Yacht Inn,' 247. 



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Part II. — Fiction 

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29 



A ROMANCE OF TWO WORLDS. 

Twenty-Fourth Edition, 
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ARDATH: THE STORY OF A DEAD 

SELF. Fourteenth Edition, 
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BARABBAS: A DREAM OF THE 

WORLD'S TRAGEDY. Thirty-Eighth 

Edition, 

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and the imaginative beauty of the writing 
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paraphrase of the supreme climax ot the 
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THE SORROWS OF SATAN. Forty- 
Sixth Edition, 

* A very powerftil piece of work. . . . 
The conception is magnificent, and is likely 

to win an abiding place within the memory 
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. . . This interesting and remarkable romance 
will live long after much of the ephemeral 
literature of the day is forgotten. ... A 
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[T65M Thousand, 
* It cannot be denied that " The Master 



Christian" is a powerful book ; that it is one 
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that it strikes at the root of the failure of 
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manner which shows the inevitable disaster 
heaping up . . . The good Cardinal Bonpr6 
is a beautiful figure, fit to stand beside the 
good Bishop in '* Les Mis^rables." It is a 
book with a serious purpose expressed with 
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* A very remarkable book, deserving of 
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to whom fine literary method is a keen 
pleasure. — The JVorld, 

A CHANGE OF AIR. Sixth Edition. 

*A graceful, vivacious comedy, true to 

human nature; The characters are traced 

with a masterly hand.' — Times. 
A MAN OF MARK. Fifth Edition. 

»Of all Mr. Hope's books, "A Man of 

Mark" is the one which best compares with 

"The Prisoner of Zenda."'—iVi»//o»»a/ Oi- 

terver. 
THE CHRONICLES OF COUNT 

ANTONIO. Fifth Edition. 

* It is a perfectly enchanting story of love 
and chivalry, and pure romance. The 
Count b the most constant, desperate, and 



Anthony Hope's Novels, 

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modest and tender of lovers, a peerless 
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PHROSO. Illustrated by H. R. Millar. 
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THE KING'S MIRROR. Fourth Edition, 
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ventures. ^--Spectator, 

QUISANTE. Fourth Editum, 

' The book is notable for a very high liter* 
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i 



30 



Messrs. Methuen's Catalogue 



W. W. JaeolNi' Novels. 

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Illustrated. Fourth 



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Fiction 



31 



Arthur Morrison's Novels. 
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* A great book. The amber's metbod is 
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Third 



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32 



Messrs. Methuen's Catalogue 



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PATH AND GOAL. Crown Svo, 6s, * 




Fiction 



33 



Bernard Capes. Author of *The Lake of 
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THE CONQUEST OF LONDON. 

Second Edition, Crown Bvo, 6s, 



r 



34 



Messrs. Methuen's Catalogue 



TH£ SUPREME CRIME. Cr, Zvo, 6f. 
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■ - ■;LE«KNTr" - 



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36 



Messrs. Methuen's Catalogue 



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